In pictures: Liverpool v Toulouse
Ryan Gravenberch spared Darwin Nunez’s blushes after the Liverpool striker produced an incredible sitter in Thursday’s Europa League clash against Toulouse at Anfield. Nunez comically spurned a gilt-edged chance to bag his second goal of the night, leaving the home fans and his manager, Jurgen Klopp, in disbelief.
Liverpool comfortably maintained their 100 per cent Group E record against the Ligue 1 side, with several impressive performances in Klopp’s side.
Diogo Jota opened the scoring on nine minutes before Toulouse striker Thijs Dallinga fired the visitors level just seven minutes later.
But Liverpool soon clicked into gear, with Wataru Endo, Nunez, Ryan Gravenberch and Mohamed Salah finding the net in a 5-1 win on Merseyside.
Nunez was among the hosts’ top performers, constantly terrorising the Toulouse defence with his relentless pressing and movement in the final third.
He looked destined to notch a brace, too, on 65 minutes after being sent through by Jota and taking on his final defender to bear down on goal.
However, after rounding Guillaume Restes, prompting premature celebrations among the Anfield crowd, Nunez unbelievably struck the post, falling to his knees in anguish.
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Much to the Uruguayan’s relief, Gravenberch rounded off one of his best performances since joining Liverpool from Bayern Munich in the summer to net Liverpool’s fourth.
Nunez’s rebounded effort fell perfectly for the 21-year-old midfielder, who rounded Restes for the second time in seconds and directed a low strike past defender Logan Costa on the line.
Nunez could only laugh when Klopp decided to haul him off the pitch immediately after the celebrations, making way for 18-year-old defender Calum Scanlon.
After joining from Benfica in a club-record £85million deal last summer, Nunez scored 15 goals in 42 appearances in his maiden season, receiving criticism for his inconsistent finishing.
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The 24-year-old inherited Roberto Firmino’s No 9 shirt after his Saudi Arabia switch in the summer, indicating the club’s faith in him, but he summoned 2011 Fernando Torres against Manchester United before his withdrawal.
He has registered five goals and four assists in 12 outings this term, and he will have no idea how he hasn’t netted six.
Liverpool are cruising in the Europa League. The Reds beat LASK Linz 3-1 in the opening game week before back-to-back home wins against Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and Toulouse.
Klopp’s side will secure their spot in the knockout stages with two Group E fixtures to spare if they triumph again in the reverse meeting at Toulouse on November 9.
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