Liverpool vs Ajax Result: Champions League Score, Goals, Report

Arguably, Jurgen Klopp’s first big European night at Anfield culminated in a late winner from a centre-back sent to a set piece. If Ajax in 2022 might not yet belong alongside Dortmund in 2016, Joel Matip’s decision here might perhaps rank alongside that of Dejan Lovren against Klopp’s old employers six years ago.

After the worst performance of his reign and nightmare in Naples, Liverpool needed an answer and a win.

In their energy and in their organization, in the individuals and in the collective, they had an improvement. But as long as Ajax were on course to pick up a point, there were arguments the result could be even more damaging than the mandatory setback in Napoli… until Matip found a corner from Kostas Tsimikas to head in over Remko Pasveer place Frustration has been replaced with Celebration.

Matip’s Champions League season had started with a damage control exercise which continued at Napoli, 3-0 down, to try and avoid an even more embarrassing result. Now and at the other end he saved Liverpool from two points.

Justification for Klopp maybe. He brought four players into the team. Everyone played their part. Matip scored, Tsimikas and Diogo Jota provided assists and Thiago Alcantara gave class in possession. Equally fitting, everyone played well. So does Liverpool, albeit imperfectly. Finally, on a day they had 23 shots, they mustered a second goal to ensure flaws in either box didn’t cost them.

Klopp couldn’t see anything positive about the incompetence show in Naples. There were several here including the sight of Mohamed Salah on the scorer list. This used to be remarkable for the amount of his goals, but now for their rarity value.

But he almost scored a second goal seconds before Matip scored when Calvin Bassey deflected a shot off the bar. He would have set up a goal had substitute Darwin Nunez not missed and deflected a shot wide. The summer signing’s search for a redeeming moment after the Crystal Palace red card continues, but while Klopp brought on four forwards in the closing stages, a defender delivered instead.

Until then, wastage had been a problem for Liverpool, along with isolated difficulties against defence.

They weren’t as ragged or as chaotic as they were at Napoli, but their only goals conceded this season remain against Bournemouth and Everton. What matters is that they conceded again.

The goal, scored by the superb Mohammed Kudus, was partly due to further problems down the right and the unmarked Daley Blind could have given Ajax their first win against Liverpool since 1966.

For once, Liverpool had a start to enjoy. A side used to being 1-0 down instead took the lead after Ajax conceded their first goal in 546 minutes.

Salah’s European losing streak spanned seven games and dates back to February’s win over Inter Milan. It was also the Egyptian’s belated first goal of the season at Anfield; Even when they scored nine goals against Bournemouth, he hadn’t found the net. After his anonymous performance in Napoli, Salah regained prominence, slipping past defenders and scoring in characteristic fashion.

(Getty Images)

His punch came from a combination of a redesigned Front Three. Klopp had preferred Jota Nunez and Roberto Firmino. The justification came quickly, and Jota marked a first start of the season with an assist. Luis Diaz was his assist and won a header. Jota clung to it, supplied Salah and he slid a shot past Remko Pasveer. So far so good for Liverpool.

But they had problems down the right side of their defense, and dropping Joe Gomez didn’t solve them all.

Ajax’s equalizer was an explosive conclusion to a 26-pass movement. Kudus accepted the cutback from Steven Berghuis, span and fired off the underside of the bar in an unstoppable shot. Kudos to Kudus, who scored in a fourth straight game, but for a moment Liverpool could have been forgiven for wishing he had joined Everton in the summer.

After that, the chances kept coming. Pasveer reacted skillfully to stop Van Dijk’s header from a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner. Jota and Diaz had fired shots into the billboards. Alexander-Arnold’s vicious volley went just over the bar. He had parried double shots. A solo run by Jota was followed by a shot at the goalkeeper.

Sending for Firmino and Nunez, Klopp switched to 4-2-3-1 and played attacking and it threatened to backfire when Blind stumbled forward to narrowly miss the header.

Instead, Matip was the match winner. Liverpool’s last European night at Anfield was a Champions League semi-final that felt like a routine victory. Given the context and timing, this was anything but. Liverpool vs Ajax Result: Champions League Score, Goals, Report

Fry Electronics Team

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