Ajax vs Liverpool summary: Liverpool through, score, goals, highlights, Champions League 2022-23
FT Ajax 0-3 Liverpool (Salah, Nuñez, Elliott) - Recap
Liverpool are through to the Champions League round of 16!
One of those matches that finished completely differently to the way it started. If Steven Berguis' second-minute effort had gone in rather than hit the post, we might've been in for a very different encounter. Ajax had further openings in an energetic start to the game but started to relinquish control after half-an-hour or so. Liverppol looked lost early on but slowly grew into the game and were able to capitalise, a delightful through-ball from Henderson setting up Salah to score before half-time.
The second half was all about the first seven minutes. Nuñez headed in from a corner and Salah sliced open the Ajax defence, with Elliott the beneficiary. Very little happened after that, with Ajax seemingly resigned to defeat and Liverpool comfortable after an incredibly sluggish start to the match.
Liverpool qualify for the knockout stages but face their work cut out to finish top of the group. They need to defeat Napoli at Anfield by more than three goals to finish first.
Ajax's Champions League run comes to an end but they will almost certainly drop into the Europa League. They only need to avoid a five-goal defeat to Rangers, who haven't picked up a point and have scored just one goal in the group, to finish third.
Klopp: We're through to the knockout stages and I'll never take that for granted
Last but not least, Jürgen Klopp:
"They had a top half an hour from a specific moment where they created a lot of pressure and did really well and we had to defend with a lot of passion."
"We scored a goal which was exceptional. The second half we had a really good start and controlled the game from then on.
On Nunez: "I think even he was surprised! [when Firmino passed for the shot on the woodwork]. He had a really good game in both directions, helped defending and played with a big heart today so hopefully we took him off early enough!
More on the game: "We changed system again a little bit, we had to. We thought it would make sense. Ajax are a good football team and full of confidence always and you have to adjust. We did that and fine."
"It is clear. We are through to the knockouts and I will never take that for granted. Really helpful for the club, of course it gives the lift. Tonight we all feel great and we have a few days to prepare for Leeds."
Goalscorer Harvey Elliott next in front of the cameras:
"When you come to a stadium like this you will always get limited chances but we were very clinical. All round it was a good game."
"Strikers need to get mistakes out of the way and not dwell on it too much which is what Nunez did."
"My goal was about getting a clean strike. My right leg isn't just for standing on!"
Speaking to BT Sport after the game, Liverpool defender Andy Robertson had this to say:
"We knew they had to win. They tried to start fast and I don't think we calmed down quickly enough but the important thing was we didn't concede. We managed to keep it tight and then it was about getting the first goal."
"We got the goal and in the second half we came through. Nice to get through before the last game."
"We had control. Darwin was really angry with himself at half time. I sat next to him at half time and told him I would put a cross in to his head for him to score."
"Three nil at this place, a really tough place to come and the clean sheet is so important for us now."
Don't know if it'll make Ajax feel any better but Barcelona and Atlético Madrid are also dropping down into the Europa League...
The other game in the group, by the way, finished Napoli 3-0 Rangers. Napoli have scored 20 goals in this group, Rangers have conceded 19.
Nothing going on as we enter injury time. This game was over long ago.
It didn't look as if we'd be seeing these pictures after 30 minutes. But football matches are 90 minutes long, not 30. So here they are.
Tsimikas on for Robertson for Liverpool. Not even running down the clock, there's no need.
Jurrien Timber has had enough! The central defender wins the ball and goes on a charging run forward, past two or three Liverpool players. Things open up for him just inside the box but he snatches at it and the ball flies comfortably wide.
Ajax are at least getting a few balls into the box, Taylor's apart. But they're being very well dealt with by Van Dijk and Gómez so far.
Some Ajax fans have seen enough. They're off. It'll be a long cycle home for some of them.
Half-hearted claim for a penalty from Ajax as Kudus goes down in the box. 'Nada' says the Spanish referee.
This game promised a lot but has really petered out after Liverpool's goal. A shame for us neutrals, although the Reds won't see it that way.
One of the worst crosses I think I've ever seen there. Robertson and Firmino get in a mess down the left and leave Taylor with a chance to get the ball in the box, put some pressure on the Liverpool defence. But he sticks it out for a throw-in.
Berghuis came so close to putting Ajax ahead in the second minute, hitting the post. He gets another sight of goal here from just inside the box but hits row Z this time.
Fair to say that Milner (36) and Bajcetic (18) are very much at different ends of their careers.
Triple midfield change for Liverpool
Weirdly, Liverpool have taken off their entire midfield. The other two must be no good without Hendo.
Elliott, Fabinho and Henderson replaced by Fabio Carvalho, James Milner and Stefan Bajcetic.
Henderson is down and requires treatment. Can he carry on? Don't think so...
Over from Taylor! If Ajax are to have any hope of getting back into this, that's the kind of chance they have to take. Some nice passing eventually leads to Sánchez in the box, the Mexican picks out Taylor, who blasts it into orbit from a decent position.
I'd be worried about my team conceding again if I were Alfred Schreuder. Liverpool movement has definitely picked up and the home defence is getting pulled around a bit. Firmino picks out Salah, who curls one harmlessly over the bar.
First shot of the half for Ajax!
Bergwijn picks up possession on the angle of the box, takes a touch inside and curls one. But it's too high and Alisson happily waves it over.
Nuñez is replaced by Curtis Jones for Liverpool.
Brian Brobbey started the game really well for Ajax but he's now been hooked. Kenneth Taylor comes on.
Changes for Ajax
Kudus and Wijndal on for Klaasen and Blind. Can they make a difference?
There is absolutely no sign of Ajax getting back into this. Those two goals have completely floored them.
The Ajax crowd were raucous at the start of the game but now it's can the Liverpool fans you can hear. What a transformation after the first goal in particular.
Ajax 0-3 Liverpool! Elliott!
Well, that's that. Salah's movement to drop deep pulls the Ajax defence all over the place. Harvey Elliott runs into the gap that's been created and the Egyptian picks him out with a superb slide-rule pass. The youngster rifles high into the net and suddenly Liverpool are taking Ajax to the cleaners.
Ajax 0-2 Liverpool! Nuñez!
And that corner leads to number two! Simple as you like. TAA's curling corner, Nuñez gets between Sánchez and Timber to head in off the far post.
Nuñez almost sneaks one in at the near post! That was a cross on the swinger, it almost caught Pasveer out. Pushed away for a corner.
Liverpool have started the second half better than they did the first. TAA gets down the right, for the first time in the game, whips in a dangerous cross but Bassey heads it away from Nuñez as the big striker was licking his lips.
And we're back off! Can Ajax turn this around?
HT Ajax 0-1 Liverpool
Liverpool will definitely take that! Let's be honest, they're lucky to be ahead here. Ajax should've been a goal up inside two minutes and had a few other more-than-decent efforts on goal. But the hosts seemed to run out of steam around the half-hour mark and they've been punished.
The Reds looked as if they had their boots on the wrong feet for most of that half but they finished strongly. A delicious pass from Henderson for Salah was the highlight and how they haven't go in two goals ahead...you'll have to ask Darwin Nuñez.
As things stand, Liverpool are romping through to the last 16 and could yet finish top of the group. Ajax look pretty safe in third and for a Europa League spot.
Can the Amsterdammers find a second wind and get back in this game? Based on the first 30 minutes, you'd think there was still a chance. Based on the last 15, less so.
Almost two! How did he miss that??
Liverpool are in again down that left-hand side and work in across to Firmino, all alone in the box. His pass takes Pasveer out and leaves Nuñez with an open goal but he knocks if off the post!
Salah puts Liverpool in front!
This has definitely evened itself out as the half has gone on, although Ajax have been the more threatening. But it's Liverpool who strike first. Sánchez misjudges a high ball which allows Henderson to play a wonderful outside-of-the-boot pass through for Salah, who clips it first time past Pasveer. Superb pass, superb finish.
A sore one for Darwin Nuñez there. The striker catches a stray elbow in the face from Bassey, who may have been a little bit lucky to get away with it...Don't think there was any intent and the Uruguayan seemed to think about it before going down but there was definite contact.
HUGE chance for Ajax! It all starts with Brobbey holding off Van Dijk once again. Bergwijn's cross from the right works its way all the way across to Tadić, who looks as if he's going to score but is denied by a block from TAA.
Side-netting from Robertson! Liverpool are starting to get a bit more possession now. Firmino drops deep and allow Robertson to bomb on ahead of him. A nice ball inside Sánchez finds the Scot but he smashes the ball into the side-netting from a tight angle.
Liverpool had a rare chance to get away there after Ajax lost possession. They had bodies forward but a lack of movement means Henderson ends up slinging a hopeful ball into the box that reaches nobody.
Crucial block from Timber! Robertson got away down the left for the first time and crossed for Salah, whose from 10 yards or so is blocked by the defender.
Daley Blind, rather than Calvin Bassey, is playing at left-back for Ajax tonight. Blind isn't the quickest but Liverpool haven't had a chance to exploit any space in behind him yet.
That latest passage of play sums Liverpool up. A crossfield pass should be easy for Robertson to take down but he lets it run out of play.
Just in case you're into that kind of thing. The Reds are The Greens for the first time this season.
...easily claimed by Alisson.
Ajax stream forward again...corner!
A long ball over the top for Nuñez, easily claimed by Pasveer. That's it from Liverpool.
This has been a great start from the hosts. They're by far the more dangerous so far.
That's a good effort from Sánchez! Ajax work it to the right-back, who's bizarrely in the D. He fires it with his right but Alisson makes it look relatively simple.
Immediately after, Liverpool surrender position in their own half and there's another sight of goal for Berghuis. He curls it goalwards but Alisson is happy to see it drift wide.
A decent opening there for Jorge Sánchez! Berguis plays him in behind Andy Robertson but his cross, like Salah's before, is an easy pick-up for Alisson.
Think that's the first time I've ever seen Van Dijk just boot the ball out into the crowd. No nonsense.
Ajax have dropped off a little bit after their storming start. They're happy to let Van Dijk and Gómez have the ball unless they think there's a good chance they can nick it.
First threat from Liverpool. Harvey Elliott plays Mo Salah in down the right but his low cross is fairly harmless and Pasveer claims easily.
As you might expect, Ajax getting in Liverpool faces early on. There's not been much going on in the Ajax half.
There's been some really good hold-up play from Brobbey so far. The Liverpool defence could be in for a tough evening...
Probably should've scored there really...
What a chance for Ajax! The ball deflects its way into the box to Brobbey, who lays it off for Berghuis. He dummies and shoots off the post!
And we're off!!
Virgil van Dijk
Just for a bit of fun, here's a list of players on either side who've played in the same team at some point in the past:
- Dušan Tadić & Virgil van Dijk (Groningen 2010–12, Southampton 2015–17)
- Francisco Conceição & Luis Díaz (Porto 2020–22)
- Maarten Stekelenburg & Virgil van Dijk (Southampton 2015/16)
- Maarten Stekelenburg & Fabinho (Monaco 2015)
Klopp: "It would be absolutely great to qualify tonight"
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, meanwhile, has his sights set on qualification. And so he should: "Yes, it would be absolutely great [to qualify on Wednesday], but I cannot sit here and tell you I feel it already as if we would be halfway through. There is a game and 95 minutes in between – and if it happens then I can tell you it was really big and really important, but in this moment we just prepare for the game."
Schreuder: "In the end, it's about the points"
Speaking earlier this week, Ajax coach Alfred Schreuder was in no doubt that his side would be in for a touch game: “In the end it's about the points. We have to believe we can do it and show courage and aggression. We will do everything we can to win until the end. If we have to be satisfied with a point, then that’s what we will have to do. But we want to go for the win for as long as possible.”
The teams met in the 2020/21 group stage, with Liverpool winning 1-0 in both Amsterdam and Liverpool. A Nicolás Tagliafico own goal gave the visitors victory at the Johan Cruijff ArenA on Matchday 1, before Curtis Jones scored the only goal at Anfield on Matchday 5.
Those six points helped Liverpool advance as Group D winners on 13, six more than Ajax, who finished four adrift of runners-up Atalanta.
Those were the sides' first competitive fixtures in more than 50 years, Ajax recording a 7-3 aggregate win in the 1966/67 European Cup second round. The Dutch side were 5-1 victors in Amsterdam before a 2-2 draw at Anfield, Johan Cruyff scoring three goals across the tie including two in England.
You'd think these two would've played each other more often, wouldn't you?
Champions League success for Ajax and Liverpool
Of course, these are two of the competition's most successful clubs.
Ajax won the European Cup three times in a row between 1970 and 1973 before winning the Champions League in 1994-95.
Liverpool, of course, had a recent triumph in 2019, along with five other victories (1977, 1978, 1981, 1984, 2005).
The milestones just keep on coming for Liverpool.
Alisson - 200 games, one goal.
Prolific for a keeper.
From Scottish League Two to 50 Champions League appearances in nine years. Not bad at all for Robbo.
Liverpool - current form
Does Liverpool's start to the season come into the 'nightmare' category? They're doing alright in this competition but the league has not been good...
Sure, they've had the highs of beating Manchester City at Anfield and thrashing Bournemouth 9-0. But they haven't won any of their five away games, slipping up at newly-promoted Fulham (2-2) and Forest (0-1), and are already 12 points off the top of the table when they were supposed to be one of the favourites.
Ajax - domestic form
Ajax might not be doing that well in the Champions League table, but they're doing rather better in the Eredivisie one. Top of the pops with 28 points from 11 matches, four ahead of PSV in second.
Since the start of the season, they've lost just once in the league, have scored four goals on three occasions, five goals once, six goals once and seven goals once. 15 in the last three league matches. That's pretty decent.
Liverpool - 9 points from 4 games
Liverpool's trajectory, meanwhile, has been the exact opposite. The suffered a 4-1 humbling at the hands of Napoli in the opening game (the Italians have scored a lot of goals, haven't they?) but have gone on to win their last three Champions League games. 7-1 (told you...) at Rangers last time out.
Ajax - 3 points from 4 games
As I mentioned earlier, Ajax have to win this game if they are to have any chance of making the last 16. A point isn't enough and IS enough for Jürgen Klopp's side.
Alfred Schreuder's side started their Champions League campaign by thrashing Rangers (who hasn't...) but have since lost three games in a row and conceded 10 goals in two games to Napoli. Ouch.
Three changes, meanwhile, for Liverpool. Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Darwin Nuñez come in after the Reds' shock 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest at the weekend.
Ajax's Mexican stars
Ajax's Mexican duo both start! Edson Álvarez was always going to play, he's become an important part of the Ajax midfield in the last couple of seasons. Jorge Sánchez gets the nod at right-back, having only played 89 minutes in the Champions League previously this term.
Aaaaaand, here's the Liverpool side:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Elliott, Fabinho, Henderson; Salah, Nuñez, Firmino.
Strongest team available. Not a surprise.
Right. Let's get straight down to business! Here's how Ajax line up:
Pasveer; Sánchez, Timber, Blind, Bassey; Klaasen, Álvarez, Berguis; Bergwijn, Brobbe, Tadic.
4-3-3 for the Dutch. You wouldn't have expected anything less, would you?
Barcelona - Bayern live online: score, stats, updates, Champions League 2022/23
Barcelona heading into the Europa League...
My colleague Joe Brennan will also be keeping you up to date with Barcelona’s clash with Bayern Munich, in which the Catalans will be celebrating qualifying for the Europa League…. You’ll keep both pages open at the same time, of course.
Ajax vs Liverpool: times, TV and how to watch online
Where to watch the game
Before we get going, if you’re looking for a place where you can watch the game, then look no further! Here’s all the info you need. Just make sure you keep this page open too….
Ajax vs Liverpool: what you need to know
Let’s cut to the chase - Ajax HAVE TO WIN THIS GAME. Anything else and they’re out.
But…that might not even be enough. The Dutch side have to beat Liverpool by a bigger margin than the one by which they lost to the Reds at Anfield in September (2-1), defeat Rangers in the final group game and hope Jürgen Klopp’s side lose to Napoli at the same time.
In terms of team news, Mexican duo Edson Álvarez and Jorge Sánchez both start for Ajax. Liverpool go with their strongest side, with captain Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Darwin Nuñez all recalled.
Hello and thanks for joining me (Roddy) for live coverage of Wednesday’s crucial Champions League Group A clash between Ajax and Liverpool in Amsterdam. Which of these two are going to join Napoli in the round of 16? We’ll find out soon enough!
The game kicks off at 9pm local time in the Netherlands, that’s 3pm ET / 12pm PT. Tick tock.
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