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Liverpool put five past Toulouse as Darwin Nunez gives Jurgen Klopp welcome selection headache

Liverpool 5-1 Toulouse (Jota 9′, Endo 30, Nunez 34′, Gravenberch 65′, Salah 90+3′ | Dallinga 16′)

ANFIELD — Michael Edwards’ departure was always going have a detrimental effect on Liverpool’s hugely successful transfer department, but given he had groomed Julian Ward to be his heir apparent, the drop off was not meant to be as severe as it was.

The fact the Ward sporting director regime failed to strengthen key areas of the squad so spectacularly is the main reason the Reds find themselves playing mid-table French teams on a Thursday night this season.

Yet, Ward’s one-year reign of transfer terror appears to be just a blot on the copybook, with Liverpool’s squad again resembling something Edwards himself would be proud of.

Despite making eight changes from their Merseyside derby win at the weekend, Toulouse were no match for a second-string Liverpool at Anfield, as Jurgen Klopp’s team continued their perfect start to their Europa League campaign.

Fringe players seized their chances with relish, with some performances from those in red ensuring the lines between squad options and first-choice certainties is as blurred as it has been for some time – the modus operandi of any club’s transfer hierarchy.

With Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah on the bench, Liverpool’s front three, at times, ebbed and flowed like the “Fab Three” did in their pomp, with Diogo Jota’s glorious finish for the hosts’ opener after nine minutes giving further credence to claims the Portuguese should be his side’s strike focal point every week.

After Toulouse had quickly restored parity, their first-ever goal against English opposition in their history, through Thijs Dallinga, Wataru Endo guided a superb header into the net on his opportunity in the team, to put Liverpool back in front.

The astute summer arrival grew into his holding role as the match wore on, looking more and more at home with every possession pass, alongside Ryan Gravenberch, another whose quick assimilation to life in England is proving difficult for Klopp to ignore.

Darwin Nunez then looked every inch a £70m forward with a powerful finish to end the game as a contest in the 34th minute, the Uruguayan’s fifth goal from just six starts.

It is not just summer signings who have improved the depth of the Liverpool squad. With both Joe Gomez and Joel Matip fully fit, the Reds can boast one of the best reserve centre-back pairings in England. What Manchester United would give to be able to turn to defenders of their calibre, given their fourth-choice option is 35-year-old Jonny Evans.

Man of the match: Ryan Gravenberch

Full of energy, the former Bayern Munich midfielder is invigorating a Liverpool engine room that desperately needed livening up this season

Other than a superb goal-line clearance from Trent Alexander Arnold that saved an otherwise untroubled Liverpool rearguard from disaster, it remained a comfortable night for the Reds’ backline in the second half.

The rest of the match was just a matter of how many the home side would score against their inferior opponents. In second gear, Gravenberch converted from the rebound, saving Nunez’s blushes after he had somehow contrived to hit the post, with substitute Salah adding a fifth in stoppage time.

Last season, such a miss could well have wormed its way into Nunez’s psyche. But he, like many around him, knew they had done enough to give Klopp the mother of all selection headaches ahead of some crucial matches to come.

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