LIVERPOOL rubber-stamped their place within the final 16 of the Champions league because of an unbelievable blunder from Ajax keeper Andre Onana.
The Cameroon worldwide allowed a cross from Nico Williams to drift over his head – apparently deciding it was crusing out of lay – however he had not seen Curtis Jones sneaking in behind him.
Curtis Jones fired Liverpool into the Champions League knockout stageCredit score: PA:Press Affiliation
The Reds secured prime spot within the group with a recreation to spareCredit score: Getty – Pool
However the sight of Onana holding his head in his fingers in disbelief confirmed the Ajax stopper was due an help for that match-winner.
It acquired even higher for Jurgen Klopp’s injury-ravaged aspect, as Atalanta’s failure to beat Group D whipping boys Midtjylland meant Liverpool are sure to complete prime of their pool.
The pre-match discuss had centred round Liverpool’s selection of goalkeeper, with Caoimhin Kelleher given a shock Champions League debut
First selection Allison was dominated out by a slight hamstring pressure, and Klopp mentioned he had determined to play Kelleher forward of common stand-in Adrian as a result of the Irish keeper is “a very good shot stopper”.
He had loads of alternatives to show that as Ajax bossed proceedings till their very own keeper’s unbelievable gaffe.
They twice went near taking the lead simply earlier than Jones struck, though the guests had actually been given sufficient warnings that the younger midfielder was a participant they needed to control.
Ajax admitted earlier than the sport they have been nervous about going through Liverpool’s goal-hungry entrance three. However the early menace additionally got here from Jones.
Jones obtained an early Christmas current for the one purpose after a howler from Ajax keeper Andre OnanaCredit score: AP:Related Press
That was sufficient to seal the factors and prime spot within the group for the RedsCredit score: EPA
He tried his luck after simply two minutes as Liverpool stormed ahead on a trademark counter-attack, however his shot flew straight at Onana.
The Ajax keeper was crushed all ends 4 minutes later as Jones let fly once more, solely to see his effort crash in opposition to the far publish.
Ajax had actually not come to Anfield seeking to defend, as you would possibly anticipate from a aspect who had scored 38 objectives of their eight video games since dropping the reverse fixture in opposition to Liverpool 1-0.
That run included a 13-0 away win over Dutch League rivals Venlo 4 days the Liverpool recreation – and followers right here have been speaking concerning the glut of freak outcomes for the reason that coronavirus lockdown ended!
Brazilian striker Anthony ought to have carried out higher with a capturing probability that sailed excessive into the empty stands, whereas former Everton misfit Davy Klaasen was clearly having fun with his return to Merseyside.
He sprayed a few very good crossfield passes to stretch the house defence, and nearly sprang the offside lure on a few events.
Liverpool have been enjoying a harmful recreation there.
The Dutch aspect’s rising confidence was mirrored as full again Noussair Mazraoui rampaged ahead and unleashed a fierce drive which introduced a nice diving save from Kelleher.
Caoimhin Kelleher stored a clear sheet on his European debut for LiverpoolCredit score: AP:Related Press
That introduced a smile to Klopp’s face nevertheless it disappeared as Andy Robertson – the one member of Liverpool’s first selection again 4 not dominated out by harm – twice went down clutching his left foot.
The Scotland captain was in a position to stick with it after having his ankle closely strapped, nevertheless it was nonetheless a worrying sight for the Liverpool boss.
Liverpool had not provided a lot of a menace after that vigorous begin, with Ajax having fun with nearly two thirds of the primary half possession. However the Reds stepped up a gear simply earlier than the break.
Diogo Jota was thwarted by a brilliantly-timed problem from Edson Alvarez, whereas Perr Schurrs took a extra bodily method when Sadio Mane burst previous him.
The large central defender was fortunate to flee with solely a yellow card.
However Ajax continued to look simple on the attention, and they need to have taken the lead 5 minutes into the second half.
One other well-worked transfer noticed David Neres select Klaasen, however he despatched his shut vary header flashing huge of the goal.
The stopper justified his inclusion with a surprising point-blank save from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar late onCredit score: PA:Press Affiliation
They went shut once more with Mazraoui forcing one other good low save from Kelleher, and Neres couldn’t consider it when he despatched the rebound crashing in opposition to the publish.
That escape appeared to spark Liverpool into motion – with a little bit of assist from the comedy keeper.
To be truthful to Onana, he did redeem himself barely, throwing himself bravely on the ft of Mo Salah after which diving full size to palm away a screamer from substitute Roberto Firmino.
Salah had a pair extra probabilities to wrap it up for the house staff as Ajax threw much more males ahead, however he shot wastefully huge after which took far too lengthy to drag the set off.
And Kelleher justified his inclusion with a surprising level save from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s level clean header two minutes from time.
And instantly, that smile was again on Klopp’s face.