UCL returned last night. We witnessed some exciting matches. One of the very interesting matches was Ajax’s visit to Anfield. With Liverpool having a disastrous night in Naples. In Naples, Liverpool was completely outplayed and questions were raised regarding Jurgen Klopp as the manager of Liverpool.
Within Ajax visiting Anfield, it was destined to be a fiery encounter. Liverpool was expected to respond in their style as they usually do. As soon as the match began Liverpool was on the game from the get-go. Liverpool looked like their old self with their high-pressing game.
Liverpool eventually won the game after a splendid goal from one of their centre-backs in the game’s dying moments. Joel Matip’s header from a cross went past the determined Ajax defence and in the 89th minute and Anfield went crazy.
With all said and done. Let’s look at a few points to ponder upon how Jurgen Klopp solved Liverpool’s problems in their game against Ajax in UCL.
Talking Points from the Liverpool vs Ajax game in UCL last night
1. Jota Impact
With Klopp needing a win desperately he decides to go to his trusted man Diego Jota to lead the line. With Darwin Nunez their summer arrival still getting used to these new surroundings and Firmino slowly going down in his game. In a must-win game, Klopp had no choice but to deploy Jota.
Liverpool has missed many players due to injury but after seeing his performance last night Jota must be one dearly missed. Jota has a phenomenal work rate be it on the ball or off the ball. Jota also is very flexible in his gameplay. He can at times act as pure no.9 while at times can go on wings to provide width. Also at times, he can drop deep to receive the ball and then drive it forward with his quick transition and pace.
For Liverpool’s first goal that night, it was Jota’s crisp pass which led to Salah’s goal. Jota was instrumental in the forward line last night. He was trying to create a lot for his teammates and also had shots himself on the night. Thus Jota’s reintroduction in the attack was a great decision.
2. Thiago The Game Changer
Liverpool’s midfield lacks the creative spark with many of its midfielders being injured. They were getting outplayed and outrun in the midfield. Thiago’s abilities on the ball were never in question. Without Thiago Liverpool, the midfield looks dead and flat.
Last night with the introduction of Thiago The Reds got their pressing game back. Thiago dictated the play and was instrumental in keeping the possession and at times also winning it back. How was keeping it going for Liverpool by finding spaces and breaking a tough Ajax defence?
3. Joel Matip Return Calm Down The Backline
Liverpool was struggling at the back. They were conceding goals at regular intervals. Klopp tried Joe Gomez and even Phillips in that role. But both had their own shortfalls. Joe Gomez struggles with his positioning often and is caught out of position on many occasions. With Philips, he lacks the experience and mentality to play in big games. He is also not physically imposing and lacks aerial abilities.
With Konate still injured, Klopp had to bring his experienced centre-back Joel Matip in. Matip’s reintroduction last night brought stability and calming influence to the defence. He was rock solid at the back, also helping VVD at times to regain his form.
Another advantage of playing Matip is his threat from set pieces. Matip is a tall centre-back who is equally dangerous in the box. It was once again proved last night that he scored an excellent goal from set pieces which eventually turned out to be the winning goal on the night.
4. The Jurgen Klopp effect
Clearly, it was evident that players lacked intensity in their game. They lacked that speaking and drive to win the game. Jurgen Klopp is a nonsense man and he would get into the ears of Liverpool players demanding they’re the very best on the field.
Klopp in his pre-match press conference said, That Napoli’s defeat was the worst of his Liverpool career and it was unacceptable. These strong words from the manager, it was a very clear message from him to his players regarding what he is expecting of them. That’s exactly what we got last night. Liverpool’s high-pressing game returned. They were quick in closing down opponents and in their transitions.
Another thing you can associate Jurgen Klopp with is the Never Give Up / Never Say Die Attitude. The Klopp team over the years are known for never letting their heads down. His teams always kept trying till the very end. With Klopp, you get that mentality set and that is what happened last night. Even after Ajax equalised and the game was at a standstill at 1-1. Liverpool kept trying and trying and eventually succeeded in winning the game.
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