Liverpool, who have adjusted to being one of the dominant forces in world football in recent years, have failed to get off the ground so far this season and have looked a shadow of the team that reached the final last year .
Following that defeat, Liverpool manager Klopp spoke of the team needing to ‘reinvent themselves’ and Tuesday’s win certainly helped.
The performance was by no means classic Liverpool, but some of the intensity, movement and incisive passing that made the team so feared was on display once again.
After Mo Salah’s early goal gave Liverpool a 1-0 lead, it looked like the home side could be on their way to a comfortable win at Anfield – but not much has been comfortable for Liverpool this season.
Just 10 minutes later, Ajax were level thanks to a brilliant finish from Mohammed Kudus in the top corner, leaving Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson completely stranded.
In truth, Liverpool should have found the winner well before Matip’s header in the 89th minute, but a combination of wastage in front of goal and intelligent goalkeeping from experienced Ajax stopper Remko Pasveer kept the score intact.
In front of Matip’s goal, Ajax could easily have found their own goal, but a free header from Daley Blind at the far post went painfully wide.
In his post-match press conference, Klopp called the win the “first step” on Liverpool’s path to reviving their old form and said he saw “many” improvements since the Napoli defeat.
“So, very different – the start was different, the middle was different, the end was different. The football we played, the way we defended, everything was different. Much higher intensity, much more aggression, braver, more willing.
“As I said, everything was better. It was a first step, nothing else, nothing more, but everything was good.”
Tottenham lose late
Late goals from Paulinho and Arthur ensured a 2-0 win and caused excitement at the José Alvalade Stadium as Sporting continued their perfect start to the Champions League after an impressive 3-0 away win at Eintracht Frankfurt on the opening day.
Sporting’s England striker Marcus Edwards, a product of Tottenham’s academy, was a particular thorn in Spurs’ side throughout the game, nearly scoring the goal of the season in the first half after the 23-year-old punched through the entire Spurs defence would have .
Tottenham are one of only two Premier League sides to remain unbeaten after six domestic games, but while the side have been efficient at picking up points, Conte’s side have so far failed to shine on the pitch.
The continued poor form of Son Heung-min, who is still without a goal this season, remains a concern, but Conte insisted Tuesday’s defeat was a close battle that his team “didn’t deserve to lose”. .
“We conceded a goal from a corner and I’m sure we can do a lot better. Then we conceded another goal two minutes later. We have to work on all those aspects because the Champions League level is an important level and.” We have to try to improve because every game is very difficult.
“The game against Marseille was difficult. It was the same today. Of course, in the end we didn’t deserve to win, but at the same time we didn’t deserve to lose either.”