The recalled Joel Matip was the hero as Liverpool ground out a deserved and badly needed 2-1 victory over Ajax at Anfield in the Champions League.
Mohamed Salah gave Liverpool the perfect start when he collected a pass from Diogo Jota and fired in his fourth goal of the season and his first in the Champions League since February.
But the Reds’ hopes of building on their opener were dashed just 10 minutes later when Everton summer transfer target Mohammed Kudus rifled in an unstoppable shot in off the crossbar. It proved to be Ajax’s only shot on target.
In contrast, Jurgen Klopp’s side had nine, and as they pushed forward in search of a winner, one of their best opportunities fell late to substitute Darwin Nunez, who dragged a pass from Salah wide of the post, before seeing a dangerous cross that was destined for Luis Diaz touched wide. Salah then had an effort deflected on to the post.
But the pressure told in the 89th minute when Matip powerfully headed home a corner from Kostas Tsimikas to get Liverpool’s Champions League campaign up and running.
Liverpool return to action on Saturday, October 1 when they welcome Brighton to Anfield in the Premier League. The Reds’ last fixture before the international break, away to Chelsea this coming Sunday, has been postponed, after the Met Police were unable to provide sufficient cover with their resources, instead concentrating on the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II the following day.