Jurgen Klopp pleased with Liverpool response to latest 'setback' in win over Ajax

Reds claim late 2-1 win at Anfield to earn first Champions League points after 'horror show' at Napoli

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Jurgen Klopp said he was pleased with how his Liverpool team responded to their latest "setback" after Joel Matip's late goal earned the Reds a crucial 2-1 victory over Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Liverpool, aiming to bounce back from what Klopp described as a "horror show" defeat at Napoli in their first Group A match, took a deserved lead through Mohamed Salah in the 17th minute. But their advantage lasted just 10 minutes when Mohammed Kudus scored a stunner to level.

Ajax had the chance to steal the victory but Daley Blind missed a great chance late in the game, before Matip headed home the winner in the 89th minute.

It was a much-needed win for Liverpool amid an inconsistent start to the season, which began with Premier League draws against Fulham and Crystal Palace, and defeat at rivals Manchester United before a record-equalling 9-0 rout of Bournemouth and a narrow victory over Newcastle United.

Those back-to-back wins failed to ignite the Reds, though, and they played out a goalless draw at Everton in the Merseyside derby followed by the 4-1 loss in Naples.

"I think everybody could see that we understood and that we had to put a completely different shift into the game," Klopp told BT Sport. "The boys did that. We played a lot of good stuff against a hard fighting opposition. Scored the first goal and should’ve scored more goals, from set pieces especially.

"I'm not sure it was their first attack, but Ajax didn’t have a lot. That’s how it is in our situation, anything can happen, but it was an incredible strike from Kudus.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp salutes the crowd after the Champions League win over Ajax. Reuters

"It’s like another test. Everybody is hoping you go in the right direction and then you get another setback. You could see the impact of that. The pressing before the goal was much better than after the goal. Only a yard or two but if we press, we have to do it right."

The win moves Liverpool second in Group A, level on points with first-placed Napoli and Ajax in third, although Napoli's match against Rangers was postponed.

With the Premier League trip to Chelsea on Sunday postponed due to a lack of police resources in the wake of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Liverpool are not back in action until October 1 with a home match against Brighton & Hove Albion.

"Nothing is over. It is a first step, a very important step," Klopp said. "Now we have a strange break, pretty long. Brighton is waiting."

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Updated: September 14, 2022, 6:30 AM
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