Liverpool star Nunez had Ferdinand ‘scratching his head’ in Ajax win

Ajax v Liverpool: Match in pictures

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Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez had an eventful evening as his side defeated Ajax 3-0 to secure their place in the Champions League knock-out stages on Wednesday, and even had Manchester United icon Rio Ferdinand scratching his head during the game. The Uruguayan scored the Reds’ second goal, in between strikes from Mohamed Salah and Harvey Elliott in Amsterdam.

However his night was not completely positive despite the goal, as he missed an open goal from six yards out when Roberto Firmino played the ball across for the summer signing to give his side the lead, but he could only hit the post from close-range. Ferdinand admitted after full-time that he does see potential in Nunez, but that he was left scratching his head at times watching the forward.

“There was good and bad,” Ferdinand told BT Sport. “There were moments when you were scratching your head and wondering what he was thinking, and then in other moments you could see the potential. The one thing that stands out for him is he is always trying to get in there, his head never goes down.

“He is tenacious, he wants to graft, he wants to fight and that is something you want in your side. I don’t think he is ever going to be the cleanest of strikers, but he is going to be an effective striker in the long run. As a defender, he would be one of those strikers who asks you questions all game.”

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp offered an explanation for Nunez’s miss after the game, claiming he was “surprised” that he was given the opportunity. “We had a tough half an hour where Ajax produced a lot of pressure and did really well and we needed to defend with a lot of passion in those moments,” Klopp told BT Sport.

“You have to get through those phases and we had our chances as well and then we scored a goal which was exceptional, then after that situation it probably explains Bobby Firmino in a nutshell.

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“He passed the ball and I think Darwin was surprised as well with the situation. Scoring before half-time would have been great but that second half, we scored two wonderful goals and controlled the game from there.”

Nunez nodded home from an Andy Robertson corner in the second half to give the Reds a two-goal cushion against Ajax, and now has five goals in 12 appearances since making the move to Anfield from Benfica in the summer for what could end up being a club-record fee.

It was his fourth goal in his last five appearances but was substituted off just after the hour mark having only recently returned from a muscle injury that kept him out of the 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest on Saturday

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