Liverpool keeps it together in a tight affair at Anfield. The Reds take all the spoils in a 1-0 win over Ajax and now cannot be taken out of the top spot.
The Reds stay Group D leaders and will remain there even with a game left to play. This was their fourth win of the competition and with it, have now officially qualified for the knockout stages despite last week’s scare against Atalanta, who handed Liverpool their only loss of the tournament so far.
The scoreline of 1-0 tells the story of the night but how it stayed 1-0 still come as a surprise with both teams having plenty of opportunities in front of goal. However, it was the 19-year-old Scouser, Curtis Jones, who was the only outfielder to take one of his chances.
Between the Merseyside club and the Amsterdam club, they had a combined total of 26 shots at goal. The home side registered 15 and the visitors put a total of 11 together. It was a pretty well-contested 90 minutes of football and whoever scored first was taking all the points.
Jones arguably had the best two chances of the game, with him putting away the hardest one. Over at the other end of the pitch, his teammate and Champions League debutant, Caoimhin Kelleher, equalled Jones’ stellar performance. He had a strong hand in Liverpool’s fourth clean sheet of the group stages.
Jurgen Klopp’s gamble paid off!
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Klopp lost Alisson Becker to a tight leg muscle before the game and is expecting to be without his number one for the rest of the week and weekend. Everybody predicted the inevitable inclusion of “second choice” Adrian stepping in for the injured Alisson. But once again, Klopp threw a curveball while having a full count on him.
And it paid off! The young 22-year-old and second-reserved goalkeeper, Kelleher, did an outstanding job in commanding his box. He was part of a solid defensive line that saw Fabinho and Joel Matip barely put a foot wrong.
Jurgen Klopp’s trust in his youth has barely failed him and tonight’s faith in another youngster has earned him another clean sheet, three points, ensuring they win Group D. The goal was thanks to an academy combo — Neco Williams with the assist and Jones with the finish.
Kelleher not only pulled off game-winning saves but also displayed a calmness and maturity when playing out from the back — a quality any Reds’ stopper must possess in his locker. The Liverpool keeper made four saves, all of them being crucial ones, even one coming in the dying minutes of the game.
All to play for, for Ajax and Atalanta. Second place is up for grabs for both these sides. They play each other for the final qualifying spot when we return to Group D action next week Wednesday.
Adrian could have seen his last game for Liverpool
The Spaniard has not seen a game since Liverpool’s victory over Ajax in their first UCL fixture back in October. At the time Alisson recovered from his injury and took back his place as the club’s first choice.
Now with Tuesday night’s mighty effort, Kelleher surely has stolen Adrian’s place as the named number 2 for the Anfield side. Adrian lost his call into action with a number of errors this season. So there will be a big decision coming up the weekend for the German boss.
They welcome a Wolves’ side showing some great form in the opening quarter of this season. Will we see the Irishman start ahead of the Spaniard on Sunday? Will we even get a late surprise that Alisson might be fit?