Can Reds Keep 100% Start Going?
As the euphoria over yet another Merseyside derby win fades, we now look towards what comes next. Liverpool have enjoyed a very strong start to their Europa League campaign, with six points taken from their opening two games played. This Thursday night under the Anfield lights, is likely to be a wet and windy affair, one that will allow the current supporting cast to gain valuable minutes for this exhausting season ahead. French Ligue 1 side, Toulouse, will arrive after a mixed start to their own season, one which currently sees them 10th in their domestic league.
INTERVIEW: Damien Comolli, on his return to #LFC with Toulouse, the Ligue 1 club who decide everything – from how they press, to when they sack a manager – on data analytics
— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) October 23, 2023
The Toulouse’s Availability
On the injury front, Zakaria Aboukhlal appears to be the only absentee for this short away trip, therefore Spanish head coach, Carles Martínez Novell, may stick with an unchanged team which started their 1-1 draw at home to Reims at the weekend.
With regards to current form, their game prior also ended in a 1-1 draw, picking up a point away to Brest. Just days prior to that result had the 2023 Coupe De France champions winning their encounter with Europa League group opponents, LASK, 1-0 at the Stadium de Toulouse. The French side currently have eleven points from their nine Ligue 1 games played, whilst sitting second in Group E (just two points behind Liverpool) with four points taken from those two games played.
— Toulouse FC (@ToulouseFC) October 22, 2023
The Liverpool’s Availability
In terms of injuries, Thiago Alcântara has an outside chance to feature on the bench for the first time this year, however, Andy Robertson will now be sidelined until late January. Stefan Bajčetić will hopefully return for the EFL cup game next midweek against Bournemouth, therefore some fresh young faces could make the bench to Thursday’s encounter. Both Cody Gakpo and Ben Doak should be able to start this game, after their respective injuries kept them out of the weekend’s home win.
Below is my prediction on the starting eleven.
GK – Caoimhin Kelleher
RB – Joe Gomez (c)
RCB – Joël Matip
LCB – Jarell Amorin Quansah
LB – Calum Scanlon
RCM – Harvey Elliott
CDM – Wataru Endō
LCM – Curtis Jones
RW – Ben Doak
CF – Darwin Núñez
LW – Cody Gakpo
How Will This Contest Play Out?
The reds may be able to guarantee progression to the next round of this secondary European competition, therefore, I foresee a very direct start from Liverpool and a willingness to put this game to bed as soon as possible. The build-up to the Christmas schedule is looming, which means management of minutes is more vital than ever. Further injuries are inevitable in this calendar year, so to have the ability to blood even more youngsters in the three remaining ties will appeal greatly to Klopp. A dominating team performance and a couple of standout displays should make for a good evening’s work in a comfortable home win.
Player to watch – Jarell Amorin Quansah