Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits the last-minute 2-1 Champions League win over Ajax is just the first step towards regaining his form.
Mohamed Salah’s first goal in eight European games was equalized in the first half by Mohammed Kudus and it took an 89th-minute header from Joel Matip to give Liverpool their first Group A points after their 4-1 defeat at Napoli in the to post last week.
It’s been a mixed season so far and with no game now for three weeks – Sunday’s game at Chelsea has been postponed over police problems surrounding the Queen’s funeral – Klopp has time to readjust for his return from the international break group.
“I think if we put the two games, Napoli and tonight, side by side, you don’t really see that it’s the same sport,” he said.
“Everything was different. The start was different. The middle was different. The exit was different. How we played, how we defended, everything was different. Much higher intensity, much more aggression, braver, more ready, everything was better.
“The story of the game is typical, not for our season so far because we are usually 0-1 behind, more for the situation we are in.
“We did a lot of good things and played a really good game, we had about 25 shots, which is good against a strong team, full of confidence, absolutely confident in their style of play and we caused them a lot of problems.
“And then, 1-0 up, you concede the equalizer with the opponent’s first chance. The reaction was ok – not perfect but ok – and at half-time we told the lads that our pressing wasn’t as convincing after the goal as before.
“I don’t think anyone was surprised that it was a set piece (for the winner) because our set pieces were really good tonight and I have no idea why we didn’t score from them sooner because pretty much every set piece was a threat .
“Joel’s face showed exactly how we all felt in that moment. It’s the first step, nothing else, nothing more.”
Sunday’s postponement, which comes after last weekend’s sweeping shift in the football calendar, means Liverpool have two games to fit into an already crowded schedule with a World Cup in the middle.
As such, Klopp was less than impressed with Chelsea’s new American owner Todd Boehly’s suggestion earlier in the day that the Premier League introduce a US-style All-Star game between teams in the north and south of England.
“He doesn’t wait long. If he finds an appointment for that, he can call me,” he added.
“In American sports, these players have four months off. Does he want to get the Harlem Globetrotters too?
“Maybe he can explain that. I’m not sure people want to see that – United players, Liverpool players, City players, Everton players all together. It’s not the national team. Did he really say it?
Ajax manager Alfred Schreuder admits his side, who scored four goals against Rangers in the opening game, learned some important lessons.
“When the goal happens with dead balls, it’s pretty sour. We have a lot of young players and they can learn from that,” he said.
“Of course I can live with the defeat. Can’t say it was underserved. Liverpool were the better team tonight, there’s no shame in that, but you have to learn from that.
“We have to see what we can do better. We’ll take a closer look at the intensity, we don’t have that in the Dutch league, it’s faster at this level. It is a learning moment for us.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/jurgen-klopp-liverpool-champions-league-joel-matip-mohammed-kudus-b2166702.html The first step, nothing more – Jürgen Klopp does not let himself be carried away by the late victory