Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said that his team coped well against Ajax’s aggression in the second half of their 2-1 win in the UEFA Champions League at Anfield on Tuesday (September 13).
The Reds registered their first continental win of the season, bouncing back from a humiliating 4-1 loss at Napoli in their Group A opener a week ago. Mohamed Salah opened the scoring in the 17th minute before Mohammed Kudus equalised for the visitors ten minutes later.
Liverpool toiled for more than an hour to find the winner and got it when Joel Matip rose highest from a corner to head home in the 89th minute.
At a post-match press conference, Klopp analysed his team’s performance in the contest. He said (via Liverpool Echo):
“The story of the game is typical. We did a lot of good stuff and played a really good game; we had something like 25 shots, which is good against a strong side full of confidence, and we caused them a lot of problems. Our high press was good; the midfield press was good.”
“And then, 1-0 up, you concede with the first chance of the opponent … the equaliser. That’s what I mean, it’s typical, a proper setback. The reaction was okay, not perfect but okay. At half-time, we told the boys that after the goal, our pressing was not as convincing as before.”
“You saw immediately after half-time there was a bit more aggression from their side, little fouls not harsh fouls but interruptions. But we did really well; we had these quick set-pieces, quick restarts with Thiago where we tried to make an advantage in these moments.”
“Sometimes you have to wait a bit longer, but I think nobody was surprised it was a set-piece (for the winner) because our set-pieces were really good tonight. Great goal, then ball not in, the linesman raises a flag which I really don’t know why and big celebrations. The face of Joel showed exactly how we all felt at the moment.”
Liverpool are up to second in Group A with the three points.
Liverpool set to return to action in October
Liverpool are looking to recover a rocky start to their season, as they find themselves in seventh place in the Premier League after six games. The win over Ajax could be their first step towards regaining form.
With their weekend clash against Chelsea postponed due to the state funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the international break to follow, the Reds will next be in action early next month.
The prolonged break could do them a world of good before they return to action against Brighton & Hove Albion at Anfield in the Premier League on October 1.