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Europa League: Toulouse, why things are really stuck before challenging Liverpool

Joy and euphoria are fleeting feelings.

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Europa League: Toulouse, why things are really stuck before challenging Liverpool

Joy and euphoria are fleeting feelings. Time and change can very quickly turn them into disappointment. In frustration. And Toulouse won't tell you otherwise. Having moved up from Ligue 2 in 2022 and last winner of the Coupe de France, Téfécé is going through a difficult start to the season after 11 days in Ligue 1.

And paradoxically, the Rose City club remains alive in the Europa League. After a good draw against Union Saint-Gilloise (1-1) on the first day, a victory against Linz (1-0) at the start of October and despite the slap received at Liverpool (5-1) there two weeks ago, Carles Martinez Novell's men still have a chance of qualifying. And will face, in the return match, the Reds of Mohamed Salah at the Toulouse Stadium on Thursday evening (6:45 p.m.).

You will have understood, welcoming the ogre of the pool – six-time winner of the Champions League – and one of the favorites for the Europa League title, is not ideal in the path that Téfécé wishes to take. But we will have to go through that. In their first 16 matches this season and in all competitions, Jürgen Klopp's men have simply lost only one match, against Tottenham (2-1) on September 30 in the Premier League.

The teammates of Ibrahima Konaté, the French international, have, it is true, only faced teams from the middle or bottom of the table. And have not yet faced Manchester City or Arsenal. But the Reds are exporting well and despite sometimes average content, always manage to grab a point like in Brighton (2-2) at the beginning of October or against Luton (1-1) last weekend.

4-2-3-1, 5-3-2, 4-4-1-1… Toulouse is, with the Italian club Cagliari, the team which has used different playing patterns the most since the start of the season. These are eight systems which were concocted by Carles Martinez Novell. Without a foundation, without balance, the Violets stagnate in all rankings. That of Ligue 1 (14th), of course, but also that of the best attack (13th, 12 goals scored) and that of the best defense (12th, 15 goals conceded). Even more worrying is this chronic inconsistency.

The Toulouse team, however, made some good moves by winning in Nantes on the first day (2-1), drawing matches against PSG (1-1) or against Marseille (0-0) and Reims ( 1-1), without succeeding in continuing. Latest example, last November 5 in the championship, where the Haut-Garonnais led until the 83rd against Le Havre before conceding two goals and losing on their lawn. “It can't be a pleasant period, with three defeats in a row, but it's time to stay positive because it will help us against Liverpool,” said the Toulouse coach confidently at a press conference.

“A better team than last season,” promised Damien Comolli, the president of Téfécé, at the start of the season. For the moment, the Rose City club is not taking the path. During the last offseason, the corridors of the Toulouse enclosure shook.

After bringing his team up from Ligue 2 in 2022, Philippe Montanier allowed Toulouse to win the Coupe de France after a card against Nantes (5-1). His departure, as surprising as it was painful for a good number of supporters, inevitably weakened the club. The departures of certain executives like Branco Van den Boomen or Brecht Dejaegere have not helped matters. But the TFC no longer has time for regrets. And could relaunch all the debates if he managed to create an exploit against Liverpool. Who knows…

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