Liverpool 2 - 1 Ajax
Liverpool: Salah 17’, Matip 89’
Ajax: Kudus 27’
Jurgen Klopp sends out what is, on paper at least, a lineup that we should all be happy with. But then again, that has largely been the case since the beginning of this cursed season. Anyway, Diogo Jota gets his first start, flanked by Mohamed Salah and Luis Diaz. Harvey Elliott, Fabinho, and Thiago start in midfield, and Kostas Tsimikas starts for the injured Andy Robertson.
The moment of silence for some dead lady who didn’t even play for Liverpool goes off without a hitch, though I’m personally disappointed that Mighty Red didn’t join in to show his respects.
Liverpool’s press looks better than it has in recent weeks. Whether that’s a result of getting Jota back, a much-needed week off, or because there’s still 85 minutes for Liverpool to start playing like ass again, we will see.
GOAL! It’s a goal! And Liverpool didn’t concede first! Alisson pumps a long ball toward Diaz and Jota picks up the scraps, holding it up just long enough to play it through to Salah, who was criminally unmarked in the box. The Egyptian King took a touch and easily slotted past the keeper! Football is fun again!
OK, I think it’s fair to say we’ve missed the hell out of Jota. He’s already teed Salah up once, and very nearly got another assist a few minutes later, with Salah’s first time effort going just wide of the target. Football with
Origi Jota is nothing.
Goal. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but tonight’s opponent scored against the run of play and on their first shot of the night. It was a fantastic finish, but fucking come on. Turns out football is just nothing.
Liverpool have at least been testing the keeper. Virgil van Dijk has had two free headers from set pieces, and the Reds have looked much more dangerous from open play as well. Of course, we’d all be much more relaxed if Ajax didn’t score with their one and only shot on target.
I don’t think the Reds have done much wrong in the first half, as the xG (1.20-0.16) can attest. A similar second half should see the Reds ending the tie on top.
Liverpool have largely controlled the opening 15 minutes of the second half without really worrying Ajax. The best attacking move was possibly offside, and it didn’t matter because Elliott blasted the chance into the side netting.
Klopp makes his first two changes of the match, bringing off Elliott and Jota for Roberto Firmino and Darwin Núñez. Jota gave Ajax hell for 65 minutes; if he can stay healthy, Klopp & Co. might just be able to turn things around.
Liverpool need to be alive to counterattacks as they push for a winner. They were just let off the hook after a header whistled past the far post. Knowing our luck this season, the visitors probably won’t miss next time.
With ten minutes to go Núñez finally saw his first real involvement. Salah did well to pick Darwin out in the middle of the box, but the Uruguayan couldn’t put the effort on target. A moment later, he put in a very dangerous cross, but Diaz just couldn’t get on the end of it. Either way, better from the Reds. There’s still a winner out there, if they can take it.
Salah hits the post. Drink.
GOAL!! JOEL MATIP GETS A WINNER FROM A CORNER!!! It looked as if it was cleared off the line, but the ref immediately pointed to his watch and then the center circle, indicating that goal line technology had given it.
Kloppo makes some stoppage time subs, bringing off Diaz and Thiago for James Milner and Stefan Bajcetic.
It was a much better performance than the final score line indicated, but the most important thing is that Liverpool have come away with all three points. These Reds don’t have love a dramatic win, do they?