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Reds Column III

Champions League 2020-21 Summary: Liverpool vs AFC Ajax

The Solitary Goal from Curtis Jones in the Second Half helped Liverpool Fc to secure an crucial 1-0 win over the visitors AFC Ajax in the Champions League 2020-21 Group D Match.

The result meant that Liverpool Fc (The Reds) are guaranteed as Group D Winners.

As a precaution, Alisson Becker was ruled out of the match due to a hamstring injury sustained during the Brighton & Hove Albion Fc Away Match. In the absence of the Brazilian and making his first European Appearance, the young Caoimhin Kelleher stepped in as Goalkeeper.

Right from the first minute, both the sides looked to attack but the Reds Midfield in particular struggled to work their way past the Ajax Midfield. However, Henderson in particular was comfortable at protecting the back line.

Most of the Reds’ best opportunities came from the Counter Attacks but unfortunately were not clinical enough since Curtis Jones shot hit the woodwork in the 6th minute following Salah’s assist.

Kelleher too was involved in the game and the youngster dealt well to deny the Visitors especially by producing a stunning save to deny Noussair Mazraoui in the 32nd minute.

The score was finely poised at 0-0 at the end of the First Half as both sides were unable to break the deadlock.

In the Second Half, the Visitors came close to breaking the deadlock as David Neres’s shot was denied by the woodwork in 57th minute. However, a minute later an in-swinging floated cross that was left away by André Onana was met by the unmarked Curtis Jones and the youngster flicked the ball in to the back of the net to give the Reds 1-0 lead.

Jürgen Klopp then brought on Roberto Firmino to replace Diogo Jota in the 67th minute. After a sedate First Half, Mohamad Salah particularly had plenty of opportunities during the Second Half but the Egyptian was unable to convert the goal scoring opportunities.

The youngster Kelleher again came to rescue for the Reds as the cross from Noussair Mazraoui was firmly headed by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar but Kelleher punched the ball away to deny the Visitors.

Salah was replaced by Rhys Williams in the 90th minute to protect the slender lead and the Reds went on to secure the win as well as progression to the Champions League 2020-21 Round of 16 (as Group D Winners).

 

Reds Team Performance Ratings

Liverpool (4-3-3 Formation)

Defence:

Caoimhin Kelleher – 10: What a perfect day for the youngster by helping the Reds to win and secure a Clean Sheet. Pulled off 2 spectacular saves during the Match to deny the Visitors. The youngster was calm and composed throughout the Match.

Nico Williams – 7: Much improved performance from the youngster. Provided the assist that resulted in the solitary Goal. Marked improvement compared to the previous Matches. Still, there is a lot of room for improvement particularly the delivery and timing of crosses.

Joël Matip – 7: Marshalled the defence very well and snuffed out of the Visitors attack.

Fabinho – 7: The Brazilian defended well and did not look perturbed at all. Intelligently dealt with the Visitor’s attack.

Andrew Robertson – 6: The Scot looked jaded and bruised but carried on admirably. Defended well and looked to get the Reds on the move.

Midfield:

Curtis Jones – 7: Scored the Game’s solitary Goal. The youngster like Neco Williams has lot of room for improvement. Shielded the defence well and had the presence of mind to score the Goal.

Jordan Henderson – 7: Always looked to drive the team on the Front Foot and shielded the defence well.

Georginio Wijnaldum – 7: Intercepted the ball to prevent the Visitors’ counter attacks and shielded the team well.

Forwards:

Sadio Mané – 6: Had plenty of opportunities but his finishing was not up to the mark. His movements in the final third caused the Visitors’ defence to feel unsettled.

Mohamed Salah – 6: The Egyptian was relatively quiet during the First Half and simply could not capitalise on the numerous goal scoring opportunities.

Diogo Jota – 7: Looked lively and caused a lot of problems for the Visitors’ defence with incisive movements but could not get his name on the Scoresheet.

Substitutes:

Roberto Firmino – 6: After a lovely link-up passes between Salah, had his shot saved by Onana in the 83rd minute.

Rhys Williams – N/A: Came on to replace Salah and protect the slender lead.

Coach:

Jürgen Klopp – 8: The German Coach will be very pleased by the overall performance of his side and will be particularly pleased by the performance of Kelleher. Allison’s hamstring injury has piled on more on the mounting injuries to key Reds Players.

Hopefully, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Naby Keïta will return soon for the Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. Premier League Home Fixture on 06 November 2020.

 

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