Liverpool suffered a shock 3-2 Europa League defeat in Toulouse on Thursday night, with the French underdogs taking three precious points from Jurgen Klopp‘s weakened side. Aron Donnum, Thijs Dallinga and Frank Magri scored to render Cristian Casseres’ own goal and Diogo Jota’s consolation meaningless, as Express Sport takes you through five major talking points from an eye-opening dose of European action…
VAR chaos hits again
Having been 3-1 down as late as the 88th minute, Liverpool looked to have completed a miraculous comeback when youngster Jarell Quansah added to Diogo Jota’s neat finish by netting in the dying embers of the game.
There was a question of handball involving Alexis Mac Allister earlier in the move, but referee Georgi Kabakov put the Reds’ minds at ease by pointing at the centre circle after consulting with the VAR.
The fiasco took another turn, however, when he backtracked by jogging over to the monitor, taking a look at the incident and disallowing the goal for a handball which Liverpool fans have every right to feel aggrieved by.
Reds trio let side down
Precisely zero Liverpool players will be leaving France pleased with how things went but Kostas Tsimikas, Wataru Endo and Cody Gakpo endured particularly tough evenings.
A dreadful error from Tsimikas led to Donnum’s opener, and the Greek was hauled off at the interval after a clumsy first-half display. Endo was meant to provide solidity in the middle of the park and allow Dominik Szoboszlai to rest, but in the end he did neither, as the Hungarian was brought on to replace him before the second period got underway.
Gakpo, meanwhile, offered little in the way of a focal point up top, which made it difficult for the visitors to gain any sort of control once Toulouse grew in confidence.
Endo sparks Man Utd fury
Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag was infuriated on Wednesday night at a number of refereeing decisions during his side’s loss to Copenhagen, including a seemingly soft red card issued to Marcus Rashford.
Red Devils supporters were therefore left raging when Endo stuck his boot into a similarly high challenge against Toulouse, only to be shown a yellow card instead. The tackle effectively ended the Japanese international’s evening, as Klopp brought him off at the break to reduce the risk of following United’s lead and going down to 10 men.
Klopp spurns golden opportunity
Liverpool could have lightened their workload significantly by winning at Stadium TFC. With LASK beating Union Saint-Gilloise elsewhere in Group E, a victory for the Reds would have seen them through to the knockout rounds as guaranteed group winners.
The result that wasn’t to be would also have punched Liverpool’s ticket straight to the last 16, skipping the two-legged round of 32 reserved for teams that finish second in the groups. Klopp and co still stand a great chance of bypassing the taxing doubleheader, but they are only two points in front and their work is far from over.
Doak given tough love
Handed his third senior Liverpool start, two days shy of his 18th birthday, right-winger Ben Doak was actually one of the visitors’ brightest sparks in the first half, exhibiting his superb one-on-one ability and drawing fouls.
That wasn’t enough to protect him from Klopp’s desperate triple change at half-time, however. Big guns Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold were among those introduced, but Liverpool lacked the necessary fight to topple Toulouse on their own patch.