Liverpool labour to victory over Union SG
A debut goal from Ryan Gravenberch, and a late strike from Diogo Jota was enough to see Liverpool to victory
#liverpoolvictory #2-0 #2nil #europaleague #matchreport
Liverpool made it two wins from two at Anfield, as a much changed side had too much quality for Union Saint-Gilloise in the Europa League.
After all the hype and distractions of the last few days, it was nice to get back to watching football tonight, as Liverpool maintained their 100% record in Group E of the Europa League.
In what was the first ever meeting between Liverpool and Union Saint-Gilloise, a much changed Liverpool had too much quality for the Belgium side, althouh (as they do so often), the Reds made it difficult for themselves at times.
The debate before kick-off was now many changes Jurgen Klopp would make, and he duly made nine changes from the Tottenham game, although the big surprise was seeing Salah and Alisson start the match. The decision to keep Alisson in goal turned out to be a simple one - as Kelleher suffered a knock in training and couldn't play, but Salah's inclusion was a risk, given Jota is suspended for the weekend trip to Brighton, and Gakpo is injured. Thankfully both players came through the game unscathed, with Salah only playing the first half.
Once the match began it was clear that Liverpool were the more accomplished team, and chances came steadily through the first half. Indeed, Darwin Nunez should have put the Reds in front, after great play from Elliott and Salah, only for the Uruguayan to miss from 6 yards out. Instead, it took a goalkeeping error in the 43rd minute for Liverpool to take the lead. A quick break from Alexander-Arnold down the left eventually led to him shooting from 25 yards, with the Union SG keeper spilling the ball into the path of Gravenberch, who reacted quickest to slot home into an empty net.
Half time saw Klopp make 3 changes, as Salah, Nunez and Endo came off, with Jones, Diaz and Mac Allister coming on. The arrival of Mac Allister was a particularly pleasing moment, as he got to face off against his older brother, Kevin, who plays for Union SG. With their father and other family members in attendance, it will be a night the family never forget.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with Liverpool creating, and wasting, chances. However, as the match wore on, Union SG sensed a chance to cause an upset and began to fashion chances for themselves - often started by sloppy play from Liverpool. With Klopp becoming more frustrated at his teams lethargy and casual play, more substitutions followed, but in truth these only helped to break up the rhythm of the game, rather than give Liverpool back control.
Finally, as the clock neared 90 minutes, Diogo Jota showed why he is such a good striker, collecting a deflected ball before slotting past the keeper, much to the delight - and relief, of the home crowd and his Manager. It will not go down as a vintage European night at Anfield, but the victory keeps Liverpool top of Group E, and helps build momentum ahead of the trip to Brighton at the Weekend.
Liverpool Team : Alisson, Tsimikas, Konate, Quansah, Alexander-Arnold, Elliott, Endo, Gravenberch, Jota, Nunez, Salah
Liverpool Subs : Jaros, Mrozek, Gomez, Van Dijk, Diaz, Szoboszlai, Mac Allister, Jones, Robertson, Matip, Chambers, Doak
Union SG Team : Moris, Castro-Montes, Mac Allister, Burgess, Machida, Terho, Amani, Vanhoutte, Puertas, Nilsson, Amoura
Union SG Subs :mRasmussen, Eckert Ayensa, Lapoussin, Teklab, Rodríguez, Imbrechts, Sykes, Sadiki, Wenssens, Huygevelde, Leysen
Liverpool 73% - 27% Union SG
Liverpool 19 - 6 Union SG
Shots on Target
Liverpool 9 - 2 Union SG
Liverpool 0 - 0 Union SG
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