A “tricky” pitch in a rain-sodden Amsterdam left both sides “exhausted” in Liverpool’s 1-0 win at Ajax, said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. “I think the pitch was really tricky, deep, muddy a little bit, both teams looked really exhausted pretty early. Three days ago it looked completely different, yesterday in training too but it was the same for Ajax too,” said Klopp on the Johann Cruyff Arena pitch.
The Reds started their Champions League campaign with three points and a clean slate in their first game. Meanwhile Virgil van Dijk was ruled out by a long-term injury, with a makeshift centre-back pairing of Fabinho and Joe Gomez performing well at the back. However, it was unfortunate as Nicolas Tagliafico scored an own goal giving the visitors three points in the Netherlands.
It was tough for Liverpool during the match at times, with Fabinho needing to clear Dusan Tadic’s first-half effort off the line and Davy Klaassen striking the post from 20 yards within two minutes of the interval.
Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana had to weather a serious test once before a slew of injury-time chances as the hosts chased a late equalizer. Klopp felt it owed a lot to the conditions in the Dutch capital.
“We were good enough to win the game, that’s what you need,” Klopp told the media. “I think both teams can play better football, it was pretty wild at moments. I think the pitch was really tricky, deep, muddy a little bit, both teams looked really exhausted pretty early.”
Three days ago it looked completely different, yesterday in training too but it was the same for Ajax too. They are where we are, early in the season that cannot be the reason really.
“You need to score a goal, we did that, we didn’t use our chances which is a bit of a shame, they had a big one with the post directly after half-time. When you’re 1-0 up these things can happen but all over I am really fine with the game because it was not our sunny shine world-class football day, but in a tournament like the Champions League you need the result and we got it.