As it happened: Ajax 0-1 LFC

Champions League Group Stage Game 1
Wednesday 21 October 2020 - 8:00 pm
Johan Cruijff Arena
Show Match Events
Kudus off, Promes on ↔️9'
35'own goal ⚽️
38' Milner
45'↔️ Jones off, Henderson on
60'↔️ Salah off, Shaqiri on
60'↔️ Firmino off, Jota on
60'↔️ Mane off, Minamino on
Neres off, Labyad on ↔️74'
Klaassen off, Ekkelenkamp on ↔️74'
81' Alexander-Arnold
Schuurs off, Huntelaar on ↔️84'
Blind off, Traoré on ↔️84'
90'↔️ Milner off, Williams on
Hide Match Events

Liverpool are in Amsterdam.  Sadly without their fans who would have thoroughly enjoyed this trip, and also without Dutchman Virgil van Dijk.

The reds meet the Dutch Champions for the first time in competitive football since December 1966, when Ajax dumped Liverpool out of the then European Cup in the second round stage over two legs.

Bill Shankly's men were roundly thumped 5-1 on that foggy night in December, but Jurgen Klopp will be hoping the reds can mark a return to winning ways, and put behind them some disappointing away results from their recent European travels.

Joel Matip is also expected to miss out tonight after picking up an injury against Everton - which means that already the reds have to call on midfielder Fabinho to slot into the gap in central defence for this fixture.

Ajax have four wins and a draw from their opening games in the Eredivisie and thumped Heerenveen 5-1 at home at the weekend.  Liverpool are likely still licking their wounds over their 2-2 draw away at Everton.

Can the reds start with a victory in the group stage?

As it happened...

17:28 UK
Injury concerns

Virgil van Dijk obviously out.  Thiago was also injured in the derby.

Alisson is a couple of weeks away from a return. 

Joel Matip also took a knock in the derby.

Everyone happy with that?

No. Likely not.

17:31 UK
Ajax boss says...

Erik Ten Hag attempted to play down the huge loss of Virgil van Dijk.

"At the end of the day it is about who is still playing. It's not going to be a different Liverpool, they always play the same.
"The quality of Man A can switch to Man B, the whole team won't change because Virgil Van Dijk isn't present.
"They are currently the best team in the world, if you win the Champions League and Premier League within two years you are a strong contender for the Champions League title."

18:46 UK
Curtis Jones and Milner in midfield

As expected Fabinho partners Joe Gomez at centre-half.

Surprise inclusions for Curtis Jones and James Milner in midfield.

Liverpool: Adrian, Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Gomez, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Jones, Milner, Mane, Salah, Firmino.

Subs: Kelleher, Jaros, Henderson, Minamino, Jota, Shaqiri, Origi, R. Williams, Cain, N. Williams.

19:01 UK
Ajax team

19:58 UK

Teams are out at the Johan Cruyff ArenA

20:01 UK

We are underway in Amsterdam!

20:04 UK

2' Fairly sure Adrian just came out to tackle Joe Gomez.

Liverpool playing in the black third strip tonight, whilst Ajax in traditional red and white.

20:08 UK
Early injury

6' Some concern here for one of the Ajax players - Mohammed Kudus who is getting some treatment on his leg.

Think he's going to have to come off.

20:10 UK
Ajax sub

9' Kudus can't continue and is replaced by Quincy Promes.

20:13 UK

12' Liverpool trying to play out from the back but it comes back to them.

Fabinho called into action but stands up and makes an important interception.

20:17 UK

17' Busy couple of moments for Adrian.

First he sees a poor clearance charged down by Tadic, sloppy.

But then makes a good save from a header after a cross is allowed into the box.

20:20 UK

19' Promising move from the reds, but Mane feeds the ball to Curtis Jones who can't reach the ball.

Comes back out to James Milner but he throws a leg at that and it's a bit of an air-shot.

Good break, poor execution.

20:22 UK

21' Ajax get plenty of space to make a break and they've got a great chance from the edge of the area.

Thankfully, drilled wide but Jurgen Klopp is not a happy camper.

20:27 UK

20:31 UK

30' Good break from Liverpool.  Firmino and Mane not showing a lot of support to Salah who does manage to hold the ball up well.

Move ends with Robertson drilling in a powerful cross that the Ajax keeper manages to smother.

20:35 UK
Adrian save!

34' Think Adrian got lucky there but instinctive reaction to get his boot behind the ball from a shot inside the area.

Initial reaction was that it was offside but replays showed he wasn't.

20:37 UK

35' Liverpool will take that one!

Mane sends in the mis-hit shot and Nico Tagliafico diverts it into his own net!

20:39 UK
Yellow card

38' Captain Milner goes into the book.

Professional foul I believe it's called.

20:47 UK

45' Big clearance from Fabinho.

Milner beaten to the ball in the middle and Adrian lobbed inside the area.  It's heading into the goal but Fabinho with a wonderful clearance to keep the reds 1-0 up.

20:49 UK

Ajax 0-1 Liverpool

Fabinho and Gomez have done well at centre-back.  Fabinho especially.

Ajax have had some decent chances.  Adrian has blown cold, hot and cold.

Mane's mis-hit shot was directed into the net by Tagliafico to give the reds the lead and Fabinho cleared a shot off the line to keep the reds ahead.

21:03 UK
Half time sub

Curtis Jones replaced by Jordan Henderson.

21:05 UK

Back underway.  Liverpool make their first of a potential five subs in this game.

Midfield was a bit over the place in the first half so Curtis Jones evening is cut short and the captain re-takes the armband.

21:05 UK

Klaassen shot from the edge of the area hits the post and bounces out thankfully!

21:08 UK
Penalty shout?

49' Looks like Firmino was held back there but referee waves it away.

21:19 UK
Triple LFC subs

60' Mane, Firmino and Salah all taken off.

Shaqiri, Jota and Minamino are on for a front three replacement.

21:32 UK

73' Liverpool changes have given the reds a bit of fresh impetus.  Jota looking busy.

Wijnaldum heads narrowly over from a corner.

21:36 UK

76' Diogo Jota chases down a ball and the keepers clearance comes off him.

Goes wide.

Ajax upping their danger levels as they search for an equaliser.

End to end.

21:43 UK
Ajax subs

85' Ajax going for it in these final minutes as they bring on Traore and Huntelaar.

21:44 UK

85' Rain has been pouring for a good ten minutes, couple that with the attacking changes and this could be an exciting finish.

Ajax not doing a lot of defending in these later stages - they have plenty of bodies up.

21:49 UK

FIVE added minutes.

21:51 UK

90+2'  James Milner replaced by Rhys Williams for these final few minutes.

21:52 UK
Yellow card

90+3' Quincy Promes booked for a foul on Gini Wijnaldum.

21:54 UK
Last chance

90+4' Cross comes in and Adrian doesn't really get much on that.

Shot comes back in but its over the bar.

22:01 UK

Ajax 0-1 Liverpool

The reds see out the game and it's a good opening win for Liverpool in the Champions League group stage, with the 'hardest' game of the group over and done with.

All the front three were replaced not long after the hour mark, and Fabinho and Joe Gomez did well enough at the back to earn the reds a clean sheet - an achievement considering the nine goals shipped in the previous two games.

A good win for the reds.

22:28 UK
Post Match: Milner

James Milner was Liverpool's busiest player - covering more than 12.5km - more than any other on either side.

He was pleased with the clean sheet and more than happy to take the own goal.

"It's always important to start well, it was a tough away game first up so that's a bonus and they're a good team. They were well organised, played good football and we've had an up and down week and so it was important to bounce back which we did and I expected nothing less from this group of players.
"Fabinho is a top player and top players can adapt and he did that. He's played there before and played very well. I thought it was a good team performance because it was tough out there, it was a physical battle under tricky conditions.
"We'll take anything in relation to a goal, we had enough chances, we were disappointed not to score more. We had a good number of counter attacks which we didn't finish off. It's a big clean sheet, with the changes we've made this week especially and they're a good team, so it was important to get the clean sheet and take the points."
22:29 UK

In Liverpool's other group game, Atalanta beat FC Midtjylland 4-0 away from home.

As a result Atalanta go top of the group on goal difference after Matchday 1.

Thanks for joining us for tonight's victory!

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