Liverpool secure their berth in the Champions League round of 16
Cobwebs on matchday justifiably is the right term to describe Liverpool’s outing on the last 2 occasions before the game last night. A 2-nil thrashing they received at the hands of Atlanta last week and the 1-1 draw they endured with Brighton on the weekend hasn’t inspired confidence.
These weren’t the kind of performances you would associate with the current Premier League winners and the 2018-19 Champions League conquerors. Truth be told though, they haven’t looked the stuff champions are made of in the recent past.
Honestly, in my opinion, they have seemed to wilt under the pressure of the threatening dark clouds with injuries and sub-par performances. As one says though, every dark cloud has a silver lining and the Reds were finally able to come out again, into the sunshine with a much-deserved win over Ajax last night.
So, lets dissect how all this came about!
A first half of equal chances
As compared to last week’s performance against Atlanta, the Reds started the game more positively in the first half with Curtis Jones hitting the cross bar in only the 6th minute after a good interplay with Mohamed Salah.
Ajax then had a chance of their own in the 21st minute when Klaasen came so close to scoring with a header only to be denied by Liverpool’s stand-in keeper, Kelleher in the absence of the regular Alison.
The Dutch side moments later created another chance from right back Mazraoui shot on target, only to be denied yet again by a brilliant one hand save from Kelleher diving to his right.
The game stood at 0-0 as the players walked backed into the tunnel at the stroke of half-time.
Young Curtis Jones comes to the party for the Reds
Ajax looked the more threatening side in the beginning of the second-half before Curtis Jones through the outside of his right boot put the ball in giving the Reds the lead in the 58th minute after the Dutch side’s goal keeper had misjudged a cross from fellow Red’s defender Neco Williams.
Truth be told, the Reds were lucky with this break, but luck does favour the brave and Liverpool were showing loads of it.
What’s more, a brilliant link up between Salah and Roberto Firmino almost paid dividend to put the Reds 2 to the good in the 83rd minute.
Ajax did come back with a very strong chance of their own in the 87th minute but the Reds young keeper again stood his ground to make a brilliant save in front of an empty Kop.
As the curtains drew on the game, the Reds certainly deserved the 1 nil victory they finally secured.
Confidence seemed to return for the Reds
The Reds certainly played a more confident brand of football, not only from a playing perspective but also from a stats perspective. Liverpool created 15 attempts in the match, with 5 being on target vis-à-vis zero in their last Champions league outing.
This boost will certainly help them in the knockout phase of Europe’s most esteemed competition and also will put their campaign back on track in the Premier League.
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So, with this dose of hope and positivity, I urge all my fellow Kopites to continue to make every Liverpool player believe ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ as they transcend greater heights!