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  • David Tyrer

Player Ratings: Liverpool 1-0 Ajax

Another pretty poor first in the Champions League for Liverpool, who took 9 points from 9 in the first 3 games before deciding to make it a bit more difficult for themselves.


Atalanta showed Ajax the way to beat an injury-ravaged Liverpool side last week and the Dutch side came with a plan that, for 57 minutes, worked a treat.


They weren't able to make it count though, despite running the midfield and seeing Liverpool's front line fail to click for a change.


But the Reds started to take more chances in the second half, not always to our advantage, before a speculative cross into the box was turned in with a cheeky finish from Curtis Jones.


After Firmino's introduction though, Liverpool gradually got control of the game, despite some decent forays forward from Ajax and the Reds saw the game out for a 1-nil win and qualification to the knockouts of the Champions League.

Caoimhin Kelleher - A fairly impressive Champions League debut for the young Irishman, who made some nice saves, looked generally confident on, and off, the ball. 7

Neco Williams - Some unfair criticism of the lad again tonight online but he actually did well enough tonight, defensively in particular. He also laid the ball on a plate after some questionable keeping rom Onana and set up the opener for Curtis Jones. 7

Joel Matip - Joel just did what he does - plays superbly with as little fuss as possible. Kept it tight, and kept it simple. Just what we needed tonight, in a rather hectic and end-to-end game. 7


Fabinho - Continues to impress at centre back and was the more active of the two, making some great tackles and interceptions, particularly in his own box. Despite Ajax looking very threatening, you felt better for it knowing he was there with Matip. 7


Andy Robertson - In many ways, it was a quite night for Robbo who suffered a niggling injury early in the first half and, after some strapping, seemed to be a bit more subdued. 6


Gini Wijnaldum - Was under pressure a lot from Ajax's frantic midfield pressing a lot but rarely looked threatened. Held the midfield together, almost single-handedly at times, with the three in the middle looking a bit disjointed tonight. 7


Jordan Henderson - It's great to have the captain back but he looked a bit off his game tonight, as he did after coming on at the weekend. Still, his calming presence was important in the later stages against Ajax. 6


Curtis Jones - Seemed to have been told to get forward when he could tonight, as he was often the first man supporting the attack. Got his reward just before the hour with the opening goal; a deft little outside of the foot goal from a tight angle. 8 Man of the Match


Sadio Mane - It was a night of huffing and puffing for Sadio but it just wouldn't click for him. Regular heavy touches, particularly when put into a good position. A frustrating night for the winger. 6


Mo Salah - The most dangerous man for the Reds, but like Mane his touch deserted him a lot. Almost played in half a dozen times but his run was either early or late, or his touch was heavy. Still, the threat was there and it kept the away team on their toes. 7


Diogo Jota - May seem harsh but compared to his recent standards Jota was really poor tonight. His control, passing and decision-making were so off the boil. He looked a little laboured throughout and was taken off with 20 minutes left. 6

Subs:


Roberto Firmino - The forward line was a little more cohesive after Bobby came on, he almost immediately set up a good chance, following with another 5 minutes later. Mane and Salah look happier with him on but it's a good problem to have right now. 7


Rhys Williams - The forward line was a little more cohesive after Bobby came on, he almost immediately set up a good chance, following with another 5 minutes later. Mane and Salah look happier with him on but it's a good problem to have right now. NA



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