LONDON – Goals by Ryan Gravenberch and Diogo Jota earned Liverpool a 2-0 home victory over Belgian side Union Saint Gilloise, giving them control of UEFA Europa League Group E with maximum points.
The hosts claimed a deserved lead a minute before halftime as Gravenberch calmly tapped in a rebound from close range after Union goalkeeper Anthony Moris had made an initial save.
Jota secured the win two minutes into stoppage time when he took advantage of a counter-attack and calmly rolled the ball past Moris from inside the box.
Liverpool top the group with six points and Union are third with one.
Toulouse are second in Group E with four points after a first-half goal by Gabriel Suazo gave them a 1-0 win against LASK.
Darwin Nunez thought he had given Liverpool an early lead by reacting swiftly to a rebound and calmly slotting the ball into the net, but the linesman had raised the flag for offside.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp admitted his team could have done better.
“We lost rhythm slightly and gave too many set-pieces away,” he told TNT Sport.
“Should have had more direction and all these kinds of things, but you take what you can get in these moments and I thought we were really mature and professional but we could have been a lot better in a lot of moments.”
Bayer Leverkusen secured a 2-1 victory at Norwegian champions Molde thanks to two goals in four minutes.
They top Group H with six points, alongside Azerbaijani side Qarabag who clinched a 1-0 victory at Hacken.
The 2022-23 Europa League runners-up AS Roma swept aside Swiss side Servette, Romelu Lukaku, Andrea Belotti and Lorenzo Pellegrini netting in a 4-0 home victory.
Villarreal secured their first points of the campaign with a 1-0 home win over Stade Rennais, the visitors wasting a great chance to equalise when Martin Terrier missed a penalty two minutes into stoppage time.
Elsewhere, Goals from Lucas Paqueta and Nayef Aguerd helped West Ham make it two wins from two games in the UEFA Europa League with a 2-1 victory at Freiburg.
Unmarked in the area, Aguerd headed the winner from a James Ward-Prowse corner in the 66th minute, the ball bouncing in off the underside of the crossbar.
West Ham, winners of the Europa Conference League last season, had taken the lead in the eighth minute with Paqueta rising high to head in a cross from Jarrod Bowen.
Rolland Sallai then equalized for Freiburg after pouncing on a rebound four minutes into the second half.
West Ham tops Group A on six points. Freiburg remains on three with Serbia’s TSC Backa Topola and Olympiacos both on one after drawing 2-2.
West Ham fans were banned from the game as punishment by UEFA for incidents at the Europa Conference League final in Prague.
In Group B, Joao Pedro converted a penalty two minutes from time to earn the first point in European competition for Brighton as it held Marseille to a 2-2 draw in France.
The Seagulls trailed 2-0 at half time after goals from defender Chancel Mbemba and midfielder Jordan Veretout before Pascal Gross pulled one back.
New Marseille coach Gennaro Gattuso remains winless after two games.
Brighton is playing in Europe for the first time in the club’s 122-year history after finishing a club-best sixth in the Premier League last season.
AEK leads the group with four points after Domagoj Vida salvaged a 1-1 draw against Ajax in Athens. Marseille and Ajax are both on two points.
In Group C, Isco headed the winner as Real Betis rallied to beat Sparta Prague 2-1. All four teams have three points after Aris Limassol overcame Rangers 2-1.
In Group D, first-half goals by Giorgio Scalvini and Matteo Ruggeri earned Atalanta a 2-1 win at Sporting Lisbon.
Viktor Gyokeres pulled one back for Sporting with a penalty. Atalanta tops the group after two straight wins.
Elsewhere, Roberto De Zerbi praised an “incredible” reaction from Brighton after they recovered from two goals down at the Stade Velodrome to salvage a point against Marseille and keep alive their hopes of progressing in the Europa League.
Substitute Joao Pedro scored an 88th-minute penalty to earn a 2-2 draw that kept Brighton in contention in Group B following their defeat to AEK Athens two weeks ago, the striker slotting home coolly after Tariq Lamptey had been tripped.
A draw had looked an unlikely outcome when Marseille struck twice in the space two first-half minutes, the first a low finish from former Newcastle defender Chancel Mbemba, then a strike by Jordan Veretout that went through the hands of goalkeeper Jason Steele after Lewis Dunk had given the ball away with a poor mis-kick.
Brighton weathered the Marseille storm, too often giving the ball away cheaply when in possession but surviving to go in only two down at the break, before launching a comeback early in the second period when Pascal Gross slotted home from Kaoru Mitoma’s cutback.
From there on De Zerbi’s team were on top, and it came as just rewards when Pedro was given the chance to level from the spot and salvage their hope of progressing to the knockout rounds.
The manager said he was concerned by the way his injury-hit side have played recently but praised their powers of recovery in the south of France, particularly coming off the back of Saturday’s 6-1 defeat to Aston Villa.
“I want to be honest more than other days, other games,” De Zerbi said. “I think we are not playing well, it’s a very tough period for us in this moment. It’s difficult to show our quality like last season, like a month ago.
“It’s a period where we have to work, but after that in football it’s important the quality of the play and the players, but it’s important playing with heart, passion and the right behaviour.
“I’m really proud of the performance today, of the players. After the defeat 6-1 at Villa Park and the second goal to close the first half at 2-0, this reaction is incredible. For it I am very happy.”
Brighton appeared stagestruck during the first half inside a stadium that rocked with the noise of a vociferous home support.
De Zerbi admitted the atmosphere had been a factor in knocking his players out of their usual rhythm that has seen them win five of their first seven Premier League games this season.
“I know we are not a big team yet,” he said. “We are a small club. We reached the European competition playing very well, showing the incredible qualities of the players, but it’s possible we suffered too much from the atmosphere. (It was) the first game (away) in Europe for Brighton, the players and the fans.
“I’m not a big coach, I’m not used to playing in this competition. We have to adapt, we have to get used to playing in this competition from this moment.
“We can lose the game but we can’t lose our DNA, our spirit, our bravery and passion. This season will be important to progress, to adapt to playing in different competitions, playing three games every week.