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What Liverpool fans did for Mohamed Salah proved crucial in Ajax win

Reaction from Ian Doyle after Liverpool leave it late to beat Ajax 2-1 in the Champions League at Anfield.

 

Mohamed Salah had just once again been hounded out of possession by a gaggle of Ajax defenders when the Kop decided to take matters into their own hands.

 

Sensing the forward was growing a little frustrated during the early stages of this Champions League clash, Reds supporters broke into their trademark song hailing their Egyptian king.

 

If it was a call to arms, they didn’t have to wait long for a reward.

 

Barely 30 seconds later, Salah showed trademark composure to take Diogo Jota’s pass in his stride and finish coolly into the bottom corner for a well-taken opening goal for Liverpool, his first strike in eight appearances in the competition.

The relief was almost palpable from the player, who then sparked into life with a greater sense of purpose whenever running at the Ajax defence and Calvin Bassey in particular.

 

This has been a strange start to the season for Salah. A statistic went viral earlier in the week indicating no player in the leading five European leagues has created more chances than the Egyptian, who now has four goals and three assists in nine matches.

 

Not too shabby. But the naked eye tells a slightly different story, even if Salah has been nowhere near plumbing the depths suggested by some misguided observers.

 

Here, though, there was a marked improvement, the Egyptian helped by the general response from Liverpool to last week’s horror show at Napoli. The appetite has never wavered, but the quality returned.

 

Indeed, there wasn’t a truly dud individual performance from Jurgen Klopp’s side in earning a deserved triumph, even if it would be stretching matters to claim they were operating at their best. Nevertheless, this was a step in the right direction.

And Salah played a part in the winning goal, his shot deflecting off Bassey on to the post and earning the corner from which Joel Matip leapt highest to score the decider after Mohammed Kudus’ first-half equaliser against the run of play.

 

It will take a long time before the memory of events at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona are truly banished.

But after a week of soul-searching, tough talking and harsh realisation, Liverpool’s European campaign is finally up and running. Nobody should be surprised Salah was at the heart of it.

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