3 talking points from Liverpool's 2-0 win over Union Saint-Gilloise

Dan Vassie
10 months ago

We've certainly seen this Liverpool side play better this season, but ultimately it is the result that matters, and the Reds kept a clean sheet as they beat Union Saint-Gilloise 2-0 to maintain their 100% record in the Europa League.

The Reds should have scored two goals in the opening stages of the game. Mohamed Salah forced the Union Saint-Gilloise keeper into a great save early on, before Darwin Nunez missed an absolute sitter.

However, Klopp was thankfully able to give his half-time team talk 1-0 to the good, via Ryan Gravenberch's first goal for the club - and never has a performance been more deserving of a goal. The Dutchman was everywhere and looks to be a real bargain.

The second-half was particularly dull, with few big chances falling to either side. But in the 92nd minute, the ball fell kindly to Diogo Jota on the break. The forward took it in his stride, before calmly slotting Liverpool's second into the far bottom corner.

With the win secured and the unbeaten record in Europe intact, here are three talking points from the game.


1) EUROPEAN DEBUT

Jurgen Klopp fielded a very strong starting XI against Union Saint-Gilloise - perhaps partially wanting to blow off steam from a horrendously controversial loss at Tottenham last weekend - but one youngster who was granted a start was Jarell Quansah.

It wasn't just any start either. The 20-year-old with mountains of potential started his first ever European game and put in and  incredibly accomplished performance from start to finish.

The English centre-half has been with Liverpool since he was just five years old so being given the opportunity to represent his club at Anfield under the lights on a European night is a feeling that won't be easily beaten.

He kept a clean sheet, was strong in the tackle, constantly made himself an option for the pass, and highlighted exactly why he is so highly rated by Liverpool fans.

You're going to go far, Jarell!

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 5, 2023: Liverpool's Ryan Gravenberch (L) celebrates with team-mate Harvey Elliott after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 2 game between Liverpool FC and Union SG at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

By far the best player on the pitch today was Ryan Gravenberch - he was absolutely immense from start to finish and demonstrated exactly why he is such a highly-rated talent.

While he already impressed in other appearances, his performance against Union Saint-Gilloise was by far his most accomplished.

He controlled the ball exceptionally in midfield, won plenty of fouls, glided past players at will and was a constant thorn in the side of the Belgian side's midfield.

Not only that, but he scored his first goal for the club - an absolute worldie from the edge of the box (not really, it was literally described after the game by the man himself as the easiest goal of his career, but he won't care, they all count!)

If he keeps playing like this, it won't be long before Gravenberch secures his place in Liverpool's starting XI permanently, and Klopp will be licking his lips at just how much of a bargain the club have signed from Bayern Munich.

3) Oh, Darwin.

Darwin Nunez didn't have a particularly bad game - he was lively, had a good shot on goal and was a threat up top. But he simply has to start putting the easy chances away.

After an opening 18 minutes of domination, Liverpool found themselves with a golden opportunity to go 1-0 up through their number nine.

Good work from Harvey Elliott found Mohamed Salah in the box, who squared it across to Nunez in what was an absolute must-score. He was unmarked in the box and had half of the goal to aim at, but dragged his shot wide, as we've seen him do on so many occasions for the club.

Liverpool fans love the Uruguayan and when you watch him on a regular basis it's not hard to see why - many would have been half expecting the striker to score a wonder goal to make up for his missed chance as he's done so many times before.

He's very good at taking the chances he has no right taking, but if he is going to live up to the incredible potential he clearly has, chances like that have to be buried ten times out of ten.

 

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