Liverpool took complete control of Europa League Group E with a 5-1 victory over Toulouse on Thursday evening.
The Reds are now sitting pretty at the summit with nine points from three games, seven points clear of Union St. Gilloise in the Europa Conference League place with just three games remaining.
It took just nine minutes for Jurgen Klopp’s men to open the scoring, we’ll assume you won’t need any second guesses at the player to put the ball in the back of the net. That’s right, Diogo Jota extended his incredible record in the Europa League, taking his tally to eight goals in his last seven matches in this competition, despite only starting four of those matches.
In fact, Jota has scored just two goals in his last six appearances for club and country and, yes, both of them have been in the Europa League! Of course, the Portugal international has also scored in the Premier League, EFL Cup and Euro 2024 Qualifying this season, but he’s very much established himself as a Europa League expert.
The joy from Jota’s goal was short-lived as Toulouse struck back in the 16th minute, with Thijs Dallinga expertly slotting the ball past Caoimhin Kelleher to finish a decisive counter-attack. That goal was as good as it got for last season’s French Cup winners, but that doesn’t tell the whole story, with Toulouse testing Liverpool’s backline on a number of occasions and coming close to adding a second either side of half-time.
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In the end, however, Liverpool’s sheer depth of quality shone through. Their second goal in the 31st minute came from an unexpected source, with defensive midfielder Wataru Endo heading home yet another perfect delivery from Trent Alexander-Arnold, who was named captain for the night. Three minutes later, Darwin Nunez made it 3-1.
Nunez should have doubled his tally just after the hour-mark, ghosting the Toulouse defence and stylishly rounding goalkeeper Guillaume Restes, only to see his effort hit the post. However, it was perhaps poetic that the ball fell to Dutch midfielder Ryan Gravenberch. The former Bayern Munich man was arguably Liverpool’s best player on the night and put in his best performance since arriving at Anfield, capping it off by tucking in the rebound from Nunez’s effort.
Four key stats from Liverpool’s 4-1 win over Toulouse…
- Liverpool scored 4+ goals in a single match for the first time this season.
- Diogo Jota has now scored eight goals in his last seven Europa League matches.
- Liverpool have won 14 of their last 15 European group-stage matches.
- Jurgen Klopp handed Liverpool debuts to youngsters Luke Chambers, Callum Scanlon and James McConnell.
There was even time at the end for substitute Mohamed Salah to get involved in the action, helping himself to his fifth goal in his last three appearances across all competitions.
Incredibly, this is the first time Liverpool have hit four or more goals in a single match since drawing 4-4 with Southampton on the final day of last season. If they’re only just starting to find their groove, it might be starting to feel a little ominous for their domestic and continental rivals.
Liverpool’s Europa League fate is now in their own hands and given the formidable record they boast in European group stage matches — winning 14 of their last 15 with only Napoli managing to get the best of them — few would bet against them strolling into the knockout rounds with a perfect record.