Liverpool earned a needed victory over Ajax in the Champions League last night. Mohamed Salah put the Reds ahead, before Kudus equalised for Ajax in a frantic first half. An 89th minute winner by Joel Matip sent Anfield wild. Here’s the match review.

You can check out player ratings from the match here.

° Lineup. There were four changes to the side, with Matip, Tsimikas, Thiago and Jota coming in for Gomez, the injured Robertson, Milner and Firmino. The manager said the decision to pick Diogo was an easy one, with the Portuguese being a mix of Bobby and Darwin.

° Strong bench. The injury woes have eased somewhat, and the bench looked better for it. It was possibly the strongest bench we’ve seen this season since probably the Community Shield at the end of July.

° Tentative start. The Reds avoided the slow starts that have become a canker this season. They were also wary of committing too many bodies forward too soon and getting caught with a sucker punch. Klopp obviously charged his side to avoid giving their opponents yet another goal headstart.

° Salah opens the scoring. The opening goal was a result of route one football. Alisson sent a long ball upfield, Diaz won the header and Jota slipped Salah through for a one on one with Pasveer. Mo took a touch before slotting home for his first goal since his header at Old Trafford.

Mohamed Salah’s strike was his first in the Champions League since February (against Inter Milan), a run of 7 games – his longest goalless run in the competition.

° Chances in quick succession. The Reds gained confidence from the goal and penned Ajax back. Diaz sent a shot whistling past the post from the penalty spot, before Jota followed suit with a rasping drive from outside the box. Salah was next as he stabbed Jota’s cross wide.

° Kudus stunner. Ajax hit the hosts with a sucker punch by scoring with their first real attack. Berghuis was released down the left flank by Blind and his cutback found the Ghanaian who hit an unstoppable drive on the turn, in off the underside of the bar.

° Trent pops up at centre forward. The Scouser offers an interesting interpretation of the right back role to say the least. With halftime approaching, he made an unmarked run into the box and was found by Diaz. He cut inside on his left but saw his shot and subsequent rebound parried.

° Frustrating second half. Ajax held resolute in the face of Liverpool’s attack in the second half, with Bassey and Timber in particular standing out. The Reds weren’t as fluent as they had been in the first twenty minutes of the encounter and the manager had to turn to his bench.

° 4-2-3-1. Jürgen Klopp’s break glass move when chasing a late winner against a stubborn defence is to throw more forwards on and morph the setup into a 4-2-3-1 formation. The ineffective Elliott was sacrificed, with Jota also afforded just over an hour on his first start in months.

° Blind let’s the Reds off the hook. In the 75th minute, Dusan Tadic finally got away from the impressive Tsimikas and clipped a cross to the backpost for Daley Blind to attack. The veteran was unmarked but could only head the ball back across the face of goal.

Kostas Tsimikas created the most chances for Liverpool last night (5), registering his third assist of the season. Nobody in the Liverpool squad has managed more assists this campaign.

It whistled past the upright with Alisson rooted to the spot. That was a huge letoff. Had that gone in, the post match analysis and feeling would be completely different. Liverpool are still not completely right defensively.

They are prone to the counter and constantly give up good chances. Ajax managed just three shots all game. They equalised with the first (through Kudus), and could have won it with the last (Blind’s header). The Reds have to tighten up. Two clean sheets in the last eleven doesn’t make for great reading.

° Nunez cameo. The Uruguayan went close to scoring in his brief cameo. His movement is great as he always seems to find himself in the thick of the action. He spurned a gilt edged opportunity when he swept an effort wide from Salah’s layoff.

He then created space for himself in the inside left channel before seeing Pasveer tip his shot behind. There are signs of quality there, but there are also teething problems in terms of how he fits the team and what the Reds want to do. His adaptation period continues.

° Matip to the rescue. Salah clipped the post with a deflected strike, and from the ensuing corner, Matip’s header crossed the line despite the best efforts of Tadic on the goalline. It was a deserved winner as Liverpool were the better side.

° Champions League campaign up and running. Jürgen Klopp’s men knew they needed to show a reaction after the debacle in Naples. They had to get all three points to avoid falling further behind in the group and they did just that. They host Rangers next in this competition.

° Still room for improvement. The Reds got the win required and put in a much better performance. They can still improve though, but like the manager said, this is a first step in the right direction.

° Timely injury returns. Thiago and Jota were two of the best players on the pitch last night. They gave the side an injection of energy and quality. If both can stay fit (the former especially), then Liverpool will be better for it.

° What’s next? A long break. With the Chelsea game also postponed, the Reds have seen their workload lightened somewhat. The international break means we won’t see them in action until October 1st when they host Brighton and Hove Albion.



  1. Still a lot of sectors to work on, our defense in particular. With the return of Matip and Thiago, there’s sure to be an improvement in the overall game play.
    I think Tsimikas should continue at. LB

    Liked by 1 person

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