3️⃣ points as Liverpool earn much-needed victory against Ajax

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Phil Costa

Article image: 3️⃣ points as Liverpool earn much-needed victory against Ajax

Liverpool started their Champions League campaign with a 1-0 win over Ajax at the Johan Cruijff ArenA.

A first-half own goal from Nicolás Tagliafico was enough to separate both sides on the night.

Champions League


Here are three points we took from the game …

Fab at the back

Liverpool fans would have been understandably worried about their centre back options pre-kick off, with natural midfielder Fabinho partnering Joe Gomez.

But the Brazilian was excellent and – while he clearly wasn’t Virgil van Dijk – used all of his defensive nous to nullify Ajax with several impressive moments.

Fabinho completed 6 tackles, 5 interceptions and 5 clearances, with his acrobatic goal-line clearance from Dušan Tadić proving the icing on the cake.

Van Dijk is a critical loss for this backline after his transformative two seasons at Anfield, but knowing Fabinho can deputise will help them sleep easier.

Not their best night

It’s not often this happens, but the Liverpool front three had a strangely off night with their attacking play leaving much to be desired.

Particularly in the first-half there were opportunities to break in numbers, but either their final ball or action was off – leaving Jürgen Klopp visibly frustrated.

Arguably the biggest concern is Roberto Firmino who still hasn’t scored this season in his six appearances, and never looked close to doing so.

But off nights are allowed and the fact their inconsistency was so apparent, was because standards have been set so high. Onto the weekend.

Famous production line

Mohammed Kudus was unfortunately withdrawn after five minutes through injury, but Ryan Gravenberch did his growing reputation no harm in Amsterdam.

The 18-year-old has made a first-team breakthrough this season and looked comfortable against top opposition – both physically and technically.

His passing was sloppy at times but that’s to be expected from a young player. What impressed most was that he never hid, always demanding the ball from his team-mates.

This Ajax side are not as good as they were two seasons ago, or even last season. Gravenberch has a golden opportunity to establish himself.