Liverpool 2-1 Ajax: Joel Matip’s header wins the Champions League at Anfield


Mohammed Salah has now scored 34 goals for Liverpool in the Champions League

Joel Matip’s late header against Ajax at Anfield earned Liverpool their first Champions League win of the season.

Boss Jurgen Klopp called for a reaction to the “horrific spectacle” of the 4-1 defeat by Napoli in their first group game and this was certainly a big improvement.

Liverpool created a number of openings and deservedly took the lead when Mohamed Salah headed home Diogo Jota’s pass.

Mohammed Kudus’ sharp shot went under the bar for an equaliser, but Matip fired home in the 89th minute.

Daley Blind missed a great chance to put Ajax ahead late on, Matip – who had a Champions League goal nine years ago – headed home the winner, which was confirmed by goal-line technology.

Liverpool’s persistence pays off

Liverpool needed to respond to Napoli’s disaster and while they weren’t near their best it was a win that would have made Champions League Group A more positive for Klopp’s side.

For a long time it looked as if Ajax’s composed form coupled with Liverpool’s lack of cutting edge could mean they would take a point from two games as Rangers prepare to play home and away.

Instead, Matip’s winner secured three important points for last season’s beaten finalists and Klopp will be hoping it marks the start of his recovery from defeat in Italy which he described as the worst performance of his reign at Anfield.

Before the match, there was a brief moment of silence in honor of Queen Elizabeth II and although there were some dissenting voices, most inside Anfield were silenced as they viewed the tribute with respect.

After kicking off the action, match-winner Matip and Thiago Alcantara were key to Liverpool’s improvement in Napoli last week, with the defender not only strong at the back but also taking the ball out of defense in his usual adventurous fashion.

The former Schalke defender’s decisive late contribution capped off a superb display and left Klopp’s defense much stronger than the previous week in Italy.

Thiago’s ability to dictate the pace has been sorely missed while injured and it was a sign of how important his performance will be as Liverpool try to bounce back from their indifferent start to the season.

Kudus shows his class

Very few clubs in world football beat Ajax to unearth talent and the latest gem looks set to be Ghanaian striker Kudus.

The 22-year-old forward was heavily linked with a move to Everton at the end of the transfer window, but Ajax blocked the deal as they looked set to lose Antony to Manchester United.

Ajax believes that Kudus will make an important contribution this season, and his value will likely increase significantly.

They have proven correct so far. He was outstanding in Ajax’s 4-0 thrashing of Rangers in their opening group game and his fierce finish at Anfield was a sign of the quality of the powerful and skilful striker.

He scored an emphatic equalizer from under the bar after Steven Berghuis and Steven Bergwijn played in.

Ajax will naturally be disappointed with the final result, given that they were minutes away from a valuable point, but they will feel justified in having shown enough to believe they can progress from a tight-knit group.

Player of the match

MatipJoel Matip

Ajax

  1. Group number22Player namethe feather

  2. Group number20Player namethe saint

  3. Group number3Player nameBassey

  4. Group number15Player nameRensch

  5. Group number4Player nameAlvarez

  6. Group number2Player nameWood

  7. Group number7Player namemountain wine

  8. Group number17Player namethe blind

  9. Group number8Player nametaylor

  10. Group number23Player namemountain house

  11. Group number10Player nameTadic

  12. Group number9Player nameBrobbey

  13. Group number19Player nameSánchez

  14. Group number21Player nameGrillitsch

The eleven

Liverpool

training 4-3-3

  • 1Alisson
  • 66Alexander-Arnold
  • 32MatipBooked in 62 minutes
  • 4van Dijk
  • 21Tsimikas
  • 19Elliottreplaced byFirminoin 66′minutes
  • 3Fabinho
  • 6Thiago Alcantarareplaced byfrom Bajcein 90+4′minutes
  • 11Salah
  • 20Whoreplaced byNúñezin 66′minutes
  • 23Diazreplaced byMilnerin 90+2′minutes

replacements

  • 2Gómez
  • 7Milner
  • 9Firmino
  • 13adrián
  • 27Núñez
  • 28Freitas Gouveia Carvalho
  • 29Arthur
  • 43from Bajce
  • 47Phillips
  • 95Davies

Ajax

training 4-2-3-1

  • 22the pen
  • 15Renschreplaced bySánchezin 68′minutes
  • 2Wood
  • 3Bassey
  • 17the blind
  • 4AlvarezBooked in 59 minutes
  • 8taylorreplaced byGrillitschin 80′minutes
  • 10Tadic
  • 23mountain houseBooked in 90 minutes
  • 7mountain wine
  • 20the saintreplaced byBrobbeyin 86′minutes

replacements

  • 1Stekelenburg
  • 6Klaassen
  • 9Brobbey
  • 11Ocampos
  • 13Kaplan
  • 16the court
  • 18Lucca
  • 19Sánchez
  • 21Grillitsch
  • 25Bah
  • 26Rule
  • 29Magellan

Judge:
Artur Manuel Soares Dias

Assistance:
52,387

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