Liverpool have one foot in the Champions League group stages after this highly
effective triumph in the heat of south-west France.
It is a long road from here to the final next year in Moscow, and the Anfield
club will face much more difficult opponents than Toulouse.
But boss Rafael Benitez will be pleased with the start his expensively
reassembled squad have made to their season.
They followed up Saturday's win at Aston Villa with another success on their
travels, thanks to a spectacular goal on his full debut by Andriy Voronin.
Liverpool should be expected to complete the job in a fortnight in the second
leg of this third qualifying round match - and claim the £12million assured for
clubs who reach the final 16 of the competition.
Next up is Chelsea in the Barclays Premier League at Anfield on Sunday, and
Liverpool will be more than confident after this success.
Benitez delivered on his promise to rotate his squad, making six changes from
the side which beat Villa on the opening day of the Barclays Premier League
Peter Crouch - unhappy at his omission on Saturday - was in the starting
line-up, alongside Yossi Benayoun, Sami Hyypia, Ryan Babel, Javier Mascherano
Jermaine Pennant was left at home, while Daniel Agger, John Arne Riise,
Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso and Dirk Kuyt all rested to the bench.
A packed municipal stadium, sweltering in temperatures approaching 90 degrees,
were present for Toulouse's return to European action for the first time in 20
Steven Gerrard hit a 20-yard free-kick inches wide in the third minute, but
Liverpool were having to do a lot of running to keep the hosts - who finished
third in their domestic league last season - at bay.
Captain Nicolas Dieuze needed his head heavily bandaged after a clash of heads
with Voronin, but that did not stop the flow of Toulouse's football.
A slight error from Hyypia allowed striker Johan Elmander a 20-yard effort,
which was held by Jose Reina after a lunging tackle by Jamie Carragher had taken
the sting out of the shot.
In the 28th minute, Steve Finnan, Crouch and Benayoun worked the ball down the
right and when play was switched to the left by Gerrard, Babel went on a fine
run before laying the ball back to the England man - but the shot was too high.
Reina was only called into action to block a Paulo Cesar break down the right
in the opening half, which ended in fine fashion for the visitors when Voronin
made the breakthrough in the 43rd minute.Finnan's long ball was nodded down by Crouch, and with Dieuze failing to
react, Voronin lashed a rising drive into the top corner of the home net.
Toulouse sent on Fode Mansare for Bryan Bergougnoux at the break to give
Elmander some more support up front.
Gerrard took a painful kick on his ankle from Pantxi Sirieix soon after the
break and it took him some time to run it off.
Crouch was almost gifted a chance for a second goal when a ball from Benayoun
fell into his path, but as he tried to take the ball round Nicolas Douchez, the
goalkeeper scooped it off his foot.
Liverpool replaced Benayoun with Riise in the 59th minute, with the Norwegian
taking up a left-wing role.
A minute later Elmander was booked for a foul on Mascherano - and four minutes
after that the Swedish striker finally managed to evade the clutches of Hyypia
and Carragher to send in a flicked shot which was held by Reina.
Gerrard was replaced in the 65th minute by Mohamed Sissoko, while Elmander had
another decent chance in the 69th minute when he sent an angled header over the
top from Cesar's cross, the midfielder being replaced by Andre Gignac seconds
Voronin made way for Torres in the 78th minute - and soon after Cetto was
booked for dissent after the Spanish striker had tangled with Sirieix.
Moussa Sissoko took over from Ebondo with six minutes left, with Toulouse now
looking frustrated and short of ideas - to the dejection of most of the 30,380