Joel Matip heads late winner as Liverpool labour to victory over Ajax

Joel Matip heads late winner as Liverpool labour to victory over Ajax

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By Martin Graham | 14th Sep 2022

Liverpool returned to winning ways and claimed all three points in the Group A Champions League fixture at Anfield on Tuesday night, after a hard-fought 2-1 win over Ajax.

Mohamed Salah broke the deadlock in the first half, though Mohammed Kudus quickly levelled for the Dutch visitors before Matip headed home late on to give the Reds a much needed victory.

Centre-backs Matip and Van Dijk spoke to the media after their side’s win and shared their thoughts on the result.

Matip reacts after firing Liverpool back to winning ways

Matip rose highest to give Liverpool the win and was delighted to have impacted the game after the final whistle.

He said: “We had a few opportunities before, so I was happy that I could score the goal. I wasn’t sure [it was in], to be honest, but when I saw the referee then the emotions came out.”

“It was a long and tough game. We tried really over 90 minutes to create chances and we were pushing forward the whole team, defending from the first second and then it was a happy end for us.”

Van Dijk also had chances to score a goal of his own but did just enough to help Liverpool hang on to their lead and a much needed three points.

The Dutchman added: “We tried and they scored with their first chance, I think. But coming back from the horror show in Naples it was very important for us to show a positive reaction. It’s not easy to turn it around, but it is a step in the right direction.”

“During the game there were great moments and something to work on. It was very important to win today and get that good feeling going into the international break.”

Speaking on the chances he had to score, Van Dijk added: “I should have scored. We felt like we were dangerous in every set-piece, especially corners, and it was our responsibility to convert one – luckily the one and only Joel Matip did.”

Liverpool hope to build on Ajax win

The victory over Ajax was a good response for Liverpool after suffering a humiliating 4-1 loss to Napoli last time out. The Reds would have been hoping to take that momentum to Stamford Bridge at the weekend but that clash was one of three Premier League games postponed due to security measures and it means Liverpool will now have an extended rest until after the international break.

Despite the win though, it is easy to see that Liverpool are not their usual dominant selves and Jurgen Klopp would be hoping the extended rest does his players much good and they hit top gear after the return.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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