Liverpool suffered a loss in their final group-stage match in the Europa League. With top spot already confirmed, Jurgen Klopp fielded a youthful side in Belgium and saw them fall to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Union Saint-Gilloise.
Young full-back duo Conor Bradley and Luke Chambers were handed starts, with Ben Doak and Kaide Gordon given opportunities in attack. But Union SG still had something to play for and ensured they would give the visitors a tough night.
Mohamed Amoura gave the hosts the lead in the 32nd minute, just about rounding Caoimhin Kelleher and tapping into an open goal. Liverpool struck back five minutes before half-time with a fine finish from Jarell Quansah, his first-ever senior goal.
But parity lasted just three minutes before Cameron Puertas Castro beat Kelleher at his near post. Klopp rang the changes in the second half but it was Union who came closest to scoring again.
The Belgian side had a goal ruled out by VAR but were still able to see out the win as Liverpool pushed for an equaliser. Express Sport looks at what we learned from an experimental night for Klopp.
Four players waste chance
Tonight wasn’t only an opportunity for the youngsters to impress. It was also a chance for some of the slightly more experienced stars to push their case for a more regular spot.
However, several of them were unable to repay Klopp’s faith in them. Caoimhin Kelleher will be disappointed with his role in Union SG’s second goal in particular, letting it in at his near post.
The 25-year-old was also hesitant with the opener in what was a scrappy finish by Amoura. Wataru Endo had started to show more promise in recent weeks but he had a poor evening and was dragged off at half-time after leaving his runner for the second goal.
Cody Gakpo has only made seven Premier League starts this season but he was unable to make much of an impact up front. Harvey Elliott was the match-winner against Crystal Palace and doesn’t want to be known as a super-sub but he struggled to have much of an influence tonight either.
Klopp sweating on Van Dijk
With Joel Matip missing for the rest of the season, Klopp will have already been sweating over the fitness of Virgil van Dijk. But tonight’s game showed how important the Dutchman is for the Reds.
Ibrahima Konate started alongside Quansah at the back but the pair did not look comfortable at all together. They have not started many games alongside each other and Union SG made sure they weren’t in for an easy night.
Konate in particular looked off it and was replaced by Joe Gomez at the break. Gomez looked more assured but he has often been needed at full-back in recent weeks.
Klopp cannot afford to lose Van Dijk for any length of time to injury. Surely adding another player at the back must be a priority in January.