Europa Clash: Toulouse’s Three Key Threats

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Liverpool host Toulouse in the Europa League Group Stage on Thursday, as they look to make it three wins from three matches.

The Reds come into this one after a 3-1 victory over LASK and a 2-0 victory over Union Saint-Gilloise, however, Toulouse will undoubtedly pose a different set of obstacles for Jurgen Klopp to overcome.

Toulouse currently sit in 10th place in Ligue 1, with just two wins from their opening nine matches.

Many Liverpool supporters won’t be familiar with much of Toulouse’s squad, but today we’re going to look at three key threats to look out for on Thursday night.

Thijs Dallinga

Thijs Dallinga is a 23-year-old Dutch centre-forward for Toulouse, who has become a regular component of Carles Martinez’s side since his move from Excelsior in 2022.

The striker has since made 53 appearances for the French outfit, scoring 21 goals and assisting a further six, as well as representing the Netherlands Under-21 squad on seven occasions.

Dallinga has so far managed to score three goals and assist two this season in 11 matches across all competitions.

Toulouse signed the youngster for just £2.5million last year, but Transfermarkt currently values the forward at approximately £12.5million.

Dallinga predominantly operates as a target forward with a hugely physical presence, standing at 6’3″ and often using his physicality to bully defenders.

Usually, Liverpool’s central defenders cope well with these sort of battles rather than a smaller and quicker opposition striker but Dallinga will certainly offer a threat.

Zakaria Aboukhlal

Zakaria Aboukhlal is a 23-year-old Moroccan winger for Toulouse, who has been a standout performer for Martinez’s side this season.

The winger has only featured in six of Toulouse’s matches so far this season, but is the club’s current top goalscorer this season with three goals.

Across those six appearances, Aboukhlal has been extremely clinical, averaging a goal every 123 minutes and outperforming his XG output by a goal.

Despite being just 23 years old, the winger has an abundance of experience, having already represented Morocco on 20 occasions, scoring three goals.

Aboukhlal is mostly deployed as a right winger and will likely face up against Kostas Tsimikas due to Andy Robertson’s serious injury.

This could be an area of the pitch that Martinez will look to use regularly in an attempt to exploit Liverpool’s back line before supplying Dallinga with some quality end-product.

Rasmus Nicolaisen

Rasmus Nicolaisen is a 26-year-old Danish centre back for Toulouse, who has played every single minute across Toulouse’s 11 matches this season.

The former Portsmouth defender has become an integral part of Martinez’s side since joining from FC Midtjylland back in 2021.

Nicolaisen has already made 86 appearances across all competitions for Toulouse, scoring five goals and assisting a further four.

The defender has been ever-present in a fairly solid Toulouse defence this season, keeping three clean sheets so far this season.

Nicolaisen has also shown his threat offensively this season, getting his name on the scoresheet on one occasion.

The left-footed defender will certainly have his work cut out on Thursday though, potentially coming up against the challenge of Mohamed Salah from the right and Darwin Nunez down the middle.

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