Liverpool entertained AFC Ajax at Anfield earlier tonight hoping to secure qualification into the UEFA Champions League knockout stages by bagging maximum points at home. The Reds struggled to get hold of the ball in the first half and went into the half-time break without registering a goal.
The Merseyside club were far better in the second 45 minutes and finally managed to make the breakthrough in the 58th minute courtesy of Curtis Jones’ finish from close range. Jurgen Klopp’s men were professional in the final quarter of the game and secured qualification as the group winners by earning a narrow 1-0 win at the north-west of England.
Let’s take a look at how each Liverpool player fared during the match against Ajax.
GK: Caoimhin Kelleher – 8.5/10
The Liverpool youngster made some world-class saves to keep the Ajax attackers frustrated. He secured the clean sheet on his debut and just about deserved the man of the match award for his heroics in the second half.
RB: Neco Williams – 7/10
Williams had a busy game in defence and often got beat by David Neres’ pace out on the flanks. However, he stood up to the test and kept getting himself into some promising positions in the final third. He ended up delivering a great cross to set-up Jones’ goal close to the hour mark.
CB: Joel Matip – 7/10
The Cameroonian centre-back stood strong and made some important clearances during the contest. Klopp will be satisfied with his performance tonight.
CB: Fabinho – 7/10
The Brazilian centre-back made a couple of essential last-gasp challenges to deny the Ajax attackers. He will be happy with the clean sheet.
LB: Andrew Robertson – 7/10
The Scottish full-back chose his moments to join in on the attack. He looked a bit tired at times, but it is understandable considering the gruelling fixture schedule.
CM: Curtis Jones – 8/10
Jones was unfortunate to see hit the crossbar but popped up with the winning goal in the 58th minute via a tidy finish from point-blank range.
CM: Jordan Henderson – 7.5/10
The Liverpool captain showed great leadership and worked tirelessly off the ball to help out in defence. He also showed a great desire to make some driving runs in the Ajax half.
CM: Georginio Wijnaldum – 7/10
The Dutch midfielder managed the game well and kept possession ticking in midfield. However, he needs to be more creative with his passing in the attacking third.
LW: Sadio Mane – 6/10
The Senegalese winger squandered some glorious chances to score. However, he deserves credit for not giving up when closing down the Ajax defenders high up the field.
ST: Diogo Jota – 6.5/10
The Portuguese speedster looked sharp when linking up play with his teammates in the first half but lacked the cutting edge in the final third.
RW: Mohamed Salah – 6/10
Salah was a constant threat on the counter. However, like Mane, the Egyptian winger was wasteful inside the opponent’s penalty box.
ST: Roberto Firmino – 7/10
The Brazilian striker kept the ball well in tight spaces and orchestrated a couple of decent chances for his teammates to score. He should have found the back of the net in the latter stages of the game but was denied by a superb save from Ajax keeper André Onana.
CB: Rhys Williams – N/A
The Liverpool starlet hardly had any time to make an impact.