Japan captain Wataru Endo headed in his first goal for Liverpool as they hammered Toulouse 5-1 in the Europa League on Thursday to make it three wins out of three in Group E.

The 30-year-old summer signing from Stuttgart netted the winner on the half-hour mark at Anfield, planting his header inside the right-hand post after meeting an early cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold for a 2-1 lead.

"The timing of the pass and my move into the box were both good," said Endo, who grew into the game after the goal with his tidy touches in defensive midfield winning plaudits from manager Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool's Wataru Endo (far L) scores with a header in the first half of a Europa League Group E match against Toulouse in Liverpool, England, on Oct. 26, 2023. (Kyodo) 

"The forward passes he played tonight were absolutely incredible and how often he broke lines with one touch was absolutely insane," the German said. "Then he scores a wonderful goal, which helps each player -- even a more experienced player."

Jota opened the scoring for the home side in the ninth minute following a fine solo run into the box, but Thijs Dallinga leveled on a counter seven minutes later for the visitors.

Darwin Nunez blasted high into the net from close range four minutes after Endo's goal to make it 3-1 for Liverpool before the Uruguayan rounded the keeper only to hit the post in the 65th minute, leaving Ryan Gravenberch to slot in their fourth instead.

Substitute Mohamed Salah scored off the bar with his weaker right foot in stoppage time to put the icing on the cake, leaving Liverpool comfortably atop the group on nine points, five points ahead of Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and Toulouse.

Wataru Endo reacts after scoring his first goal for Liverpool during the first half of a UEFA Europa League group-stage football match against Toulouse in Liverpool, England, on Oct. 26, 2023. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

"I think we're touted as one of the favorites to win the tournament," Endo said. "We definitely have to get out of this group."

While minutes on the pitch have been hard to come by in the Premier League, Endo feels he is starting to find his feet on Merseyside.

"My teammates have begun looking out for me more compared to the start (of my time here), and personally that's huge," Endo said.

"(At Liverpool) I need to put in performances like today as if they are the norm. There are areas I can improve on. I'll just keep doing my job each game."

Brighton's Kaoru Mitoma (R) vies for the ball during the second half of a Europa League Group B match against Ajax in Brighton, England, on Oct. 26, 2023. (Kyodo)

Japan winger Kaoru Mitoma, meanwhile, helped fellow English side Brighton secure their first win in Europe as they beat Ajax 2-0 at home in Group B.

Mitoma's shot from inside the box was saved but Joao Pedro pounced to give Brighton the lead three minutes from the break before Ansu Fati rolled home their second in the 53rd minute at Amex Stadium.

"I wanted to score but it became a chance (for my teammate) after I managed to keep my shot on target," Mitoma said of the opener.

Brighton have four points midway through in their tight group, level with AEK Athens and one point behind leaders Marseille, with Ajax bottom on two points.

Freiburg midfielder Ritsu Doan (front) plays in a UEFA Europa League group-stage football match against Backa Topola in Backa Topola, Serbia, on Oct. 26, 2023. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Ritsu Doan's cross set up Vincenzo Grifo's hat-trick in the 73rd minute as Freiburg came from behind to defeat Serbian side Backa Topola 3-1 away in Group A.

The German side are level on six points with leaders West Ham, while Olympiacos sit third on four points.

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