Rampant Reds land three-punch knockout
Liverpool notched their fourth consecutive H2H win over Ajax with a handsome 3-0 triumph to send them through to the UEFA Champions League (UCL) knockout stages. With no less than 10 UCL titles between the sides, a host of missed chances saw the Dutch outfit’s mammoth 24-match scoring streak come to an end as well as their chances of progression to the round of 16.
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Jürgen Klopp’s Reds have been slow out of the blocks this season and they stayed true to character in Amsterdam as Steven Berghuis thumped the base of the post early on. It took Liverpool almost half an hour to register their first attempt but once they got the ball rolling, the hosts found it tough to cope. Andrew Robertson fired the first warning shot by striking the side-netting from a narrow angle, and after Dušan Tadić fluffed his lines with another tremendous Ajax chance, the visitors finally found their shooting boots.
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Mohamed Salah did, at least, as he latched onto Jordan Henderson’s perfectly-weighted ball in behind to scoop over the onrushing Remko Pasveer. The same couldn’t be said of marquee summer signing Darwin Núñez, however, after inexplicably finding the woodwork with the goal gaping from six yards out.
The Uruguayan’s miss was a hot topic at the HT break but he made amends just four minutes into the second period, holding off two Ajax defenders to head powerfully in off the post. With momentum firmly in the visiting camp, manager Alfred Schreuder was left scratching his head just three minutes later when Harvey Elliott raced in behind and lashed his second-ever UCL goal into the roof of the net. As Liverpool slipped into cruise control, Kenneth Taylor and Jurriën Timber went close for ‘de Godenzonen’ but the goal remained elusive until the final whistle.
Liverpool’s second away win all season will bring them much-needed confidence, although topping the group will be a tall order with a big win over in-form Napoli needed next week. Ajax, meanwhile, will settle for the UEFA Europa League, barring a surprise result against Rangers next time out.