5 talking points from Union SG 2-1 Liverpool

Liverpool lost 2-1 against Union SG in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday. Here are the talking points from the game.

Klopp rotates but not entirely

Jurgen Klopp did include several youngsters in his Liverpool starting XI against Union SG - just as he'd suggested. In fact, this was the youngest starting XI of any Reds side in a European game.

Luke Chambers, Conor Bradley, Jarell Quansah, Ben Doak and Kaide Gordon all started. It's the kind of rotation people called for. Nearly, anyway.

Klopp also took chances by starting Ibrahima Konaté, Wataru Endo, Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Cody Gakpo. All are proper senior players and Konaté, in particular, will be needed this month after Joel Matip's injury.

It brought about flashbacks to Diogo Jota's infamous injury in a dead rubber back in 2020. A risk that Klopp arguably didn't need to take then or here.

A disjointed team

When you rotate like that - especially when bringing in so many youngsters - you're not going to get a team that's used to playing together. It showed.

Liverpool's press was off, their offside trap was off, their passing moves were off. Nothing looked right and they created nothing as a result, while allowing Union to push through the press time and time again.

It's a game that didn't matter, at the end of the day, but you can't help but wonder how much the kids get from a game like that.

Kelleher questions again

Not Caoimhin Kelleher's finest. He possibly should have been stronger to stop Union's opener - he got his hands to it but was unable to forcibly claim it. The second certainly felt like a mistake as it flashed past him from a distance at his near post.

The goalkeeper hasn't looked right since stepping back into first-team football this season. It does make you wonder for the future as the gulf between Kelleher and Alisson feels bigger than ever.

Quansah gets his goal

Jarell Quansah will remember this night more than anyone. He got Liverpool's goal - his first at senior level.

Of course, Quansah was unfortunate not to get it against Toulouse earlier this season. The defender found the net, only for VAR to rule it out after a lengthy check.

But it's a moment the youngster deserves for his efforts this season. Quansah has been the real success story of the Europa League campaign and it's great to see him cap that with a goal in the final group game.

The real success

Yes, Liverpool wanted to win this game. They certainly didn't want to lose it - as shown by Kelleher going up for the stoppage-time corner.

But the real success here was that Klopp could rotate his stars to keep them fresh for Sunday's visit of Manchester United. There were no obvious injuries on the night, while the most important players simply didn't play.

This is a success then, even with the defeat. Tonight's result was never going to change anything for the season - an injury really could have.

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