2022-23 UEFA Champions League, Group Stage
  • Mohamed Salah (17')
  • Joël Matip (89')
  • Mohammed Kudus (27')

Liverpool edge Ajax with late Joel Matip winner to kickstart Champions League campaign

Liverpool secured a last-gasp 2-1 victory over Ajax on Tuesday to kickstart their Champions League campaign this season.

Joel Matip scored in the 89th minute to give Jurgen Klopp's side a much-needed win after their 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Napoli last week.

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Mohamed Salah opened the scoring at Anfield but the visitors quickly fought back with a well-taken Mohammed Kudus strike.

However, Matip's late header from a corner earned Liverpool their first win in the Champions League this season.

"I had a few opportunities before, so I was happy that I could score," Matip told BT Sport after the game. "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 were pushing forward the whole team, defending from the first second and then it was a happy end for us."

Liverpool started brightly and took a deserved lead after 17 minutes when Diogo Jota set up Salah to open the scoring with a close-range finish.

The hosts came close to doubling their lead with quickfire chances but Salah, Luis Diaz and Jota failed to hit the target.

Liverpool were punished for their missed chances after 27 minutes when Ajax put together a fine move which ended with Kudus producing a stunning strike past Alisson.

The Premier League side responded well from the equaliser but Ajax goalkeeper Remko Pasveer denied Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Liverpool continued their domination in the second half but Ajax limited them to few clear-cut chances.

With 15 minutes remaining, Ajax caught Liverpool on the break and almost went ahead but Daley Blind's close-range header missed the target.

Substitute Darwin Nunez came close late on while Salah clipped the post with a deflected effort.

The hosts grabbed the winner from the resulting corner through Matip's header to earn them a valuable victory.

"It was very important to show a positive reaction," Van Dijk told BT Sport in his postmatch interview. "It's not easy to turn it around, but it is a step in the right direction.

"During the game there were great moments. It was very important to win going into the international break.

"I should have scored. We felt dangerous in the set-piece, especially corners, and it was our responsibility to convert one -- thankfully Joel [Matip] did.

"We are not listening to the outside world. A lot of ex-football players, who know what we go through, they say a lot to get us down, but we know the last game was very bad and this was a step in the right direction."