Player Ratings: Solid team performance against Ajax

Liverpool will finish top of Group D in their UEFA Champions League campaign after a 1-0 victory over Dutch champions Ajax. A professional performance from Jurgen Klopp's men saw the team sealed qualification into the last 16 of the tournament with a game to spare, with a Curtis Jones goal the difference between the two sides.

Kelleher hugging Klopp
Image Source: The Liverpool Offside

It was a closely contested affair, with both teams justified to feel that they might have at least warranted a point. The quality of Liverpool ultimately shone through at Anfield, despite a mounting injury list which saw Klopp name three U-23 players in the squad.


The Reds will be pleased with a professional performance that wrapped up the group stage with a game to spare, with a number of players stepping up brilliantly to the occasion.


Who is your man of the match?



Caoimhin Kelleher: 9/10


The young Irishman was handed a surprise start, and he put in a commanding performance which he will surely remember for the rest of his life. Kelleher - picked ahead of Adrian - made three vital stops to ensure Liverpool held on to their lead and looked assured throughout the match.

Kelleher saving against Ajax
Image Source: LFC Globe

His distribution was good and looked equally comfortable with the ball at this feet, and we are sure it will be the first of many Champions League game for the young shotstopper.


Neco Williams: 8/10


An assured and vastly improved performance from the young right-back after a subpar one at the weekend. He will be encouraged with his showing tonight, displaying the perfect balance of attacking and defensive nous as he kept the dangerous David Neres largely quiet and registered the assist for the solitary goal.


Quick reminder: the Welsh fullback is only 19, and can only get better.



Joel Matip: 9/10


The lanky Cameroon defender was one of the best players on the pitch. He kept the attacking trio of Ajax quiet throughout the game, and guided the likes of Williams and Kelleher with his experience. Matip's languid Pogba-esque demeanour, paired with his slight Sakho-esque awkwardness, showed once again that the combination makes him a real quality defender on his day, that perhaps just suffers from one too many injuries.


Fabinho: 8/10

Fabinho and Kelleher exchanging fist bumps
Image Source: The Liverpool Offside

A real leader at the back, the Brazilian defended stoutly and ensured little got past him. His versatility will be a major asset for Klopp considering the injury concerns in the team, Fabinho's reading of the game is one of the world's best and he displayed it once again tonight.



Andy Robertson: 7/10

Andy Robertson vs Ajax
Image Source: Sada El Balad

Had an injury scare early in first half, the Scotland captain quickly overcame it and was bombing up and down the field in his usual energetic self. His delivery was perhaps not as pinpoint as usual, but still a very convincing performance from the best left-back in world football.


Jordan Henderson: 7/10


Sat in front of the back four and provided the defensive cover that was much needed from a very fluid Ajax side. The captain showed the energy and tactical discipline that we have all grown accustomed to, with his leadership a huge reason the side hung on to the slender lead.


Gini Wijnaldum: 7/10

Gini Wijnaldum against Ajax midfielder
Image Source: La Pelotita

Another solid performance from the Dutchman, who have been one of the most consistent performers for the Reds this season. Wijnaldum was often the link between defence and attack tonight and put in another tireless shift for the team.



Curtis Jones: 9/10

Curtis Jones scoring against Ajax
Image Source: The Guardian

It is hard to fathom that the English midfielder is only 19 years of age, as he exhibited tremendous maturity in yet another solid performance that was wise beyond his years. Jones' clever finish saw him register his first Champions League goal, and we dare bet our last dollar that it will not be his last.


A very wise head on young shoulders.


Diogo Jota: 6/10


The Portuguese reminded us that he is just human after all, with an average performance after a series of quite superhuman ones. Made good runs throughout the game, but was uncharacteristically wasteful in the final third. Is this a cause for concern?


Far from it.


Mohamed Salah: 6/10


Got involved in the best parts of Liverpool's attacking forays, the Egyptian King just looked like he need a few more minutes in his legs before he returns to his clinical best. A goal soon should do him a world of good, and that as we all know, is inevitable.


Sadio Mane: 6/10

Sadio Mane vs Ajax
Image Source: Star TribuneMag

Mane was the most direct player for the Reds, drawing fouls after fouls from the Ajax defenders. The Senegalese was a menace on the left side, but just lacked the final product in this game. Like his counterpart Salah, a goal should do wonders for his confidence.



Substitutes


Roberto Firmino: 6/10


Came on and made a difference as the Brazilian held the ball well for the Reds in the final third. Should have scored after putting through on goal by Salah.


Rhys Williams: N.A


 

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