Premier League • England

Liverpool midfield woes continue as another star sidelined for latest Europa League showdown

Harvey Elliott, Ryan Gravenberch Liverpool

Harvey Elliott and Ryan Gravenberch in action for Liverpool

Liverpool midfielder Ryan Gravenberch has not travelled with the squad for their Europa League tie in Toulouse to further reduce manager Jurgen Klopp’s midfield options.

Curtis Jones was added to the injury list ahead of the weekend draw with Luton and, with Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic remaining long-term absentees, the loss of Gravenberch adds more pressure in the Reds’ engine room.

Wataru Endo is certain to start as Liverpool look to book qualification to the knock-out stages with two matches to spare and Harvey Elliott, who came off the bench to good effect at Kenilworth Road, is set to also line up alongside him.

The travelling party includes 18 of the squad who faced Luton – captain Virgil van Dijk has also not travelled even though he trained earlier in the day – so Klopp has a number of senior players to call on to fill the third midfield spot.

Alexis Mac Allister could be favourite as he is suspended for Sunday’s game against Brentford, but Klopp also has Dominik Szoboszlai, Cody Gakpo and 19-year-old James McConnell at his disposal.

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Kelleher expects tough Toulouse clash

And, speaking ahead of the Toulouse clash, Reds stopper Caoimhin Kelleher told the club’s official website: “We’ve got some good momentum. We had a big win the last time out and won our other two games as well, so we’re just looking to add to that and continue winning ways in the competition.

“It [Toulouse on Thursday] won’t be an easy game, especially away from home. I thought their fans were very good when they came to us so I’m expecting a good atmosphere there. I think it will be a tougher challenge than the last game.

“The main objective was always qualifying first from the group. So, I think if we can do that as early as we can, then we’ll be happy. We’re preparing for a win and we want to get the win.

“Our main aim is to win any competition we’re in. But we have to take that step by step, and we’ve taken this competition very seriously from the start.

“We’ll just look to continue it and hopefully wrap up qualification by the end of this game.”

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