Match Report: Liverpool 2 - Ajax 1: Matip's Header Gives the Reds a Well-Deserved Win

14th September 2022

Joel Matip's header in the 89th minute rescued Liverpool from having to settle for a and instead put them right back in the thick of things in Group A of the Champions League, as they took a well-deserved 2-1 over Ajax Tuesday night at .

Statistics proved that Liverpool dominated the match from the opening whistle. They outshot Ajax 24-3 and put 10 shots on frame. Ajax goalie Remko Pasveer was excellent between the pipes, making 8 saves, but it was that last shot off of Matip's head that he could not stop, which proved to be the difference.

First Half

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Both teams spent the first 10 minutes of the match feeling each other out with neither side gaining a foothold early. Trent Alexander-Arnold forced a save in the 14th minute and that salvo opened the floodgates for the Reds. Liverpool got on the board first in the 17th minute when Diogo Jota, who was one of the four changes in the starting lineup, found Mohamed Salah in the centre of the box and Salah did the rest, putting a left-footed shot in the back of the net as Liverpool led 1-0.

Liverpool had chances to double their lead in the 22nd and 23rd minutes from Luis Diaz and Jota respectively, but both chances were just wide. Those near-misses came back to haunt Liverpool as Mohamed Kudus fired a powerful strike past Allison Becker to bring the match level to 1-1. That goal proved to be Ajax's only shot on frame for the entire match.

Liverpool enjoyed the majority of the chances for the rest of the half. Ajax goalie Remko Pasveer made a double save on a shot by Virgil van Dijk and a rebound by Jota in the 35th minute. He also stopped Alexander-Arnold's shot in the 42nd minute, as the game remained tied at-1-1 after the first 45 minutes.

Second Half

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Jota continued his bright play early in the second half as he tested Pasveer in the 47th minute, but the Ajax keeper was up to the challenge. That theme continued later in the match as Harvey Elliott forced another save in the 51st minute to keep the match at 1-1. Elliott followed with a wonderful chance in the 64th minute, but he hit the side of the net.

After Matip missed a header in the 74th minute, Ajax's Daley Blind nearly put his team in front with a header in the 75th minute, but the chance skipped wide.  From that point, Liverpool kept the Dutch side under constant pressure with shots coming from Thiago, Van Dijk, and Salah. The breakthrough finally came in the 89th minute when Matip came up from the back to head a corner kick from Kostas Tsimikas. That bit of magic gave the Reds the lead and they were able to see out stoppage time to garner all three points.

Man of the Match and What's Next

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While Joel Matip certainly deserves the Man of the Match honours for his late winner, an argument could be made that Jürgen Klopp deserves the award. 3 of the 4 changes he made in the lineup scored a goal or contributed with an assist. Liverpool will not return to the pitch until October 1st when they host Brighton for an EPL match. Kickoff is set for 15:00 BST.

LFC Globe Verdict

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This was far and the most complete game Liverpool have played all season. They bossed the pitch from the opening whistle and completely dominated a previously unbeaten Ajax side. Every player that saw the pitch looked sharp and they had to be.

Salah started the scoring with an early goal, his first marker in the last 5 matches. Hopefully, that will put him back in top form. After Matip's goal gave Liverpool the much-needed victory, the pressure on the team seems to have lessened considerably.

Since the Reds do not play another match until October, it will give injuries time to heal. Once Liverpool are at full strength, they can really start to push to the top of the table in the and the EPL.

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