Liverpool earned a hard fought 2-1 victory over Dutch champions Ajax at Anfield tonight. A Salah effort was cancelled out by a Kudus stunner in the first half, before Joel Matip rose highest to head the Reds to three valuable points. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Alisson – 7

Played some incredible passes tonight. One raking diagonal saw Diaz flick a header through for Jota in the leadup to the opening goal. Another saw Jota set away on the left wing. Great distribution today, not troubled much in goal. Nothing he could do about the Kudus strike.

Alexander-Arnold – 7

His one lapse in concentration was punished when he failed to track Berghuis’ run in behind. That led to their equaliser. He popped up in the centre forward position at times and went close to scoring when the keeper denied him twice in quick succession. One poor corner went straight out for a throw. Stopped Bergwijn a number of times second half.

Matip – 9.5

We looked most dangerous when he carried the ball through midfield to cause overloads in attack. He is such a key part to breaking down stubborn defences. Had a few bites at goal from set pieces and finally made it count late on with a powerful header.

Van Dijk – 8

Much improved tonight. Won his defensive duels and went close to scoring on three different occasions. Should probably have done better as the deliveries were on the money.

Tsimikas – 9

Kept their creative fulcrum (Tadic) under wraps. Didn’t get into a shoving battle with him and won several free kicks for just standing his ground against the Serb. His wicked left foot put in some sweet deliveries and it paid off in the end with Matip making one count. Brilliant bit of last man defending in the right back position.

Fabinho – 8.5

Another who was much improved tonight. He failed to track Bergwijn’s run into the box for their goal but was near faultless after that. He won his challenges and went apoplectic when the referee penalised him for what looked like a good steal.

Elliott – 5

Didn’t wield enough influence on the game. He doesn’t win enough physical challenges not does he offer enough cover defensively to have a quiet game in terms of attacking output. Missed a good chance when he sent a right footed shot into the side netting with the keeper scrambling.

Thiago 9.5

What a difference he makes to this side. A class above. So calm and composed on the ball and tigerish out of possession. No longer were the opposition free to just ping balls in behind. Thiago kept the intensity levels up in midfield and offered control when he received the ball. Please stay fit.

Salah – 7.5

Seems to have lost the ability to beat a man. Keeps running into them. Took his chance clinically however when played in by Jota. Didn’t get much change out of Bassey and looked to have pulled out of two 50-50 challenges that could have seen him score. Unlucky to clip the upright late on.

Jota – 8

Offered a real injection of energy and urgency up top. Pressed well, picked up pockets of space, and generally made a nuisance of himself. Set up Salah for the opening goal and had a few pops himself, notably when he went on a daring run past four or five challenges before shooting straight at the keeper. Great to have him back.

Diaz – 6

Not his day at all but you can’t help but love the desire to track back in the 90th minute to halt an Ajax attack. He’s been a leader in the past few weeks. Nothing came off for him tonight but the effort was definitely not lacking.


Firmino – 5.5

Didn’t influence the game much. Tried to get on the ball in midfield and turn. A loose touch saw one attack break down as the ball rolled harmlessly behind for a goal kick.

Darwin – 6

Swept a chance wide after good work from Salah. Should have scored, but loved the reaction as he geed up the crowd instead of cower into his shell. Went close again when he beat his man down the line and saw the keeper push his cross shot away from the far post and away from Diaz who was waiting for a tap in.

Milner – N/A

On to shore things up in injury time.

Bajcetic – N/A

On for his European debut. Lovely jubbly.

Jürgen Klopp

The manager made four changes to the side that got battered in Naples, with Matip, Tsimikas, Thiago and Jota coming in for Gomez, the injured Robertson, Milner and Firmino. His side dominated the game but profligate finishing saw them pegged back with Ajax’s first attack of note.

He chanced his arm after the hour by going 4-2-3-1. The sustained pressure finally told as Matip headed home a late winner. Maybe 4-2-3-1 from the start is the way to go. Much needed victory tonight, and a much improved display.



  1. Thiago has been greatly missed.
    I better performance from the team honestly, we were just unlucky with goals but we seemed more composed and intent on the ball. There’s still a lot of work to be done.

    Matip and Thiago made the difference 👏🏾

    Liked by 1 person

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