Five things Klopp got wrong and one right despite Liverpool’s Ajax demolition
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Jurgen Klopp might have breathed a huge sigh of relief when Liverpool emerged 3-0 winners over Ajax on Wednesday night, securing qualification from their Champions League group in the process.
That is because of a tough first-half where the Amsterdam outfit were cutting through the Reds with ease, only for Mohamed Salah to dampen their tenacity with the opener near the half-time whistle.
A quickfire double from Darwin Nunez and Harvey Elliott put the game to bed but this was not a classic Liverpool display, who were saved by Ajax's poor finishing. So where did Klopp get it right, and where did he go wrong?
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Whatever Klopp said at half-time was clearly ringing n the Liverpool players' ears as they emerged from a shoddy first 45 minutes to take complete control early on. Nunez and Elliott goals ended the contest and left Ajax shellshocked, knocking them out of the Champions League in the process.
While the Reds will have to settle for second place in their group, they will be hoping for better
Liverpool will go home with Champions League qualification in the bag and a hefty 3-0 scoreline suggests that they were in control – but that does not tell the entire story. The first-half was a bit miserable from the visitors and Ajax looked in control for much of the contest.
But they were badly punished after the break when Liverpool ran riot with two quick goals to end the contest, adding to Salah's opener towards the end of the first half.
A midfield pivot of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson contains bags of experience but they were toyed with against Ajax in the opening 45 minutes, where the Dutch side pushed past them with ease on multiple occasions.
It was not that long ago when the two were part of a formidable midfield and it is easy to see why Liverpool have been linked with midfielders in the transfer window.
Ajax got their tactics spot on against Liverpool in the first-half but they were helped by some shoddy passing from the visitors. It seemed for large swathes that the Reds could not muster a decent string of passes and the frustration was there to see for all.
Considering that this Liverpool side contains some serious ballers, that is a huge concern for Klopp. He will be thankful that their Champions League destiny was already a formality.
Klopp's team selection indicated that he was going with his trusted 4-3-3 system with Roberto Firmino flanked by Salah and Darwin Nunez. However, that simply was not the case and it appeared to be more of a fjk-sda-jhf instead.
The confusion looked like it got the better of the players on the pitch, where players were dotted all over the pitch and running around like an Under-8s match. Injuries have been cruel to Liverpool but there needs to be more cohesion ahead of Leeds this weekend.
On another day, Ajax would have comfortably beaten Liverpool but their own profligacy was their downfall after missing some glorious chances. Virgil van Dijk had a shocker when he turned to complain to the officials after a slight nudge into his back rather than doing his job, only for Dusan Tadic to spurn an excellent opportunity.
In the opening exchanges, Steven Berghuis hit the post after Ajax tore through the Reds backline while Joe Gomez will hope for better form in the coming weeks.
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- Liverpool FC
- Champions League
- Jurgen Klopp
- Mohamed Salah
- Virgil van Dijk
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