One of the bigger fixtures from matchday 1 of the UEFA Champions League saw a resurgent Liverpool side outperform free-flowing Ajax in a close encounter on Wednesday night. As things stand, Erik ten Hag's men are 3rd while Liverpool sits 2nd in Group D, courtesy of Atalanta's immaculate 4-0 win against Midtjylland.
It would be safe to say that Ajax comfortably dominated the early minutes of the game. A furious Jurgen Klopp was Liverpool's most aggressive character on the pitch by some distance, as the players rather struggled to get hold of Ajax. However, the away side gradually got into their groove and finished the second half on top thanks to an unfortunate Tagliafico own goal.
Ajax came into the second half stronger than the visitors but yet again, they were unable to find the back of the net. Davy Klaassen rattled the bar with a fierce right-footed shot in the early minutes of the second half.
Jurgen Klopp made 3 substitutions in the second half to replace his lethal front 3 of Firmino, Salah and Mane as Liverpool held on to secure a narrow 1-0 victory.
Ajax player ratings:
André Onana: 8/10
Calm and composed, Onana made sure Ajax were always on their toes whenever a counter-attacking chance arose. The Cameroonian, with his incredible range of passing, was able to kick start attacks from his own goal as Ajax looked to take advantage of Liverpool's defensive vulnerability.
The hosts only conceded 4 shots on target, making Onana's duties much easier. The 24-year-old's biggest moment was when he almost came till the halfway line to stop Diogo Jota, ending the attack right where it started.
Nicolás Tagliafico: 5/10
Scoring the winner for Liverpool, Tagliafico had a bad day at the office today. The 28-year-old scored an own goal in the 35th minute of the game, which was a poor piece of defensive work by the Argentinian.
It seemed to have killed Tagliafico's confidence as he went on to complete 0 crosses, a weak passing accuracy of 74% and completing zero duels on the pitch.
Lisandro Martínez: 7/10
To be honest, Ajax deserved something from the game. Liverpool's potent front three of Mane, Firmino and Salah were taken off in the 60th minute.
Liverpool's attack was blunt and Martinez looked pretty untroubled for most of the game.
Schuurs and Martinez played much of their 90 minutes in a very high line, like they usually do, and surprisingly, kept Liverpool's front three incredibly quiet. However, Schuurs did have a few nervy moments at the back.
Noussair Mazraoui: 7/10
A move away from the Netherlands certainly looks on the cards for the young fullback, as he dropped another quality performance in an Ajax shirt for Erik ten Hag.
It was another evening of brilliance as the attacking right-back dominated the right side of the pitch with ease. If 5 tackles and 3 interceptions to his name were not enough, the 22-year-old completed 5 duels and 3 long balls as well, to sum up, a complete performance.
Davy Klaassen: 6/10
The best chance of the night undoubtedly fell to Klaassen as the 27-year-old looked to bring changes to the scoreline. The former Everton midfielder rattled the inside of the post with a venomous shot.
Excluding the opportunity, Klaassen was heavily involved in the build-up for Ajax. In 70 minutes of football, he completed 43 touches and had a passing accuracy of 88%
Daley Blind: 7/10
A perfect no.6's performance, Daley Blind put in an amazing shift vs Liverpool to keep the Premier League champions at bay. The midfielder barely broke into a sweat and reduced Firmino's involvement during attacks by a huge margin.
Ryan Gravenberch: 6/10
The 18-year-old would be satisfied with his performance against a team like Liverpool, but the midfielder was not able to impose himself and involve himself in the Ajax attack regularly.
Gravenberch seems like a player who is going to bring in loads of millions for Ajax sooner rather than later; a player who possesses every quality to become an elite box to box midfielder in the future.
David Neres: 7/10
2 chances created, 4 dribbles completed, 5 duels won and 100% of his crosses completed. You possibly cannot ask a better performance than this against arguably the best English team at the moment.
David Neres was Ajax's biggest threat and Robertson did not have a good time trying to stop the 23-year-old. In the end, the latter was on the winning side while Neres saw his chances created wasted on the pitch.
Mohammed Kudus: N/A
Injured under 5 minutes. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Dušan Tadić: 6/10
An intelligent forward who always loves bringing others into the game, Tadić was happier in providing his teammates better chances to get on the end upon, than go for it himself.
However, a moment of brilliance from Fabinho took away Tadić's equaliser for Ajax, which was indeed a chance of immense quality. Overall, Tadić did what his manager demanded from him; allow players alongside him to make deep runs and feed them, but the captain could've done more.
Quincy Promes: 6/10
The receiver of the most clear-cut chance of the night, Quincy Promes had the keys to revive his team from a losing position. While massive credit to Adrian for saving it, Promes hitting the ball straight onto his feet did not seem like the best way to test the Liverpool goalkeeper.
The 28-year-old replaced Kudus in the 7th minute of the game and although Promes did miss a golden chance, the Dutchman was instigating attacks and running down the channels quite efficiently compared to his teammates.
Jurgen Ekkelenkamp: 5/10
Replaced Klaassen. Did the basics right. That's pretty much it.
Lacina Traore: N/A
Did not play enough to warrant a rating.