regular-article-logo Tuesday, 26 September 2023

Liverpool’s win over Ajax leaves Klopp bursting with pride

'With the circumstances, there hasn’t been much to smile about,' said the German after his side secured top spot in Group D

Reuters Liverpool Published 03.12.20, 03:19 AM
Thomas Mueller

Thomas Mueller File picture

Anfield was empty, the Liverpool team depleted by injury and it was hardly a vintage performance but the 1-0 win over Ajax Amsterdam on Tuesday still left manager Juergen Klopp bursting with pride.

“Honestly, since I have been at Liverpool, this feels like one of the biggest Champions League nights. Without supporters in, it was the most important, most difficult, most exceptional,” he said.


“With the circumstances, there hasn’t been much to smile about,” said the German after his side secured top spot in Group D.

“Robbo (Andy Robertson) has a proper knock on the ankle and pushes himself through, Hendo (Jordan Henderson) with a sore back, Gini (Wijnaldum) — I have no words for him. Curtis Jones, what a game, It’s amazing, I’m really proud.”

The 19-year-old Jones got the second-half winner and was one of the brightest players in the midfield battle.

Klopp had another injury headache to contend with before the game, with keeper Alisson Becker ruled out with a hamstring strain, and Irish under-21 keeper Caoimhin Kelleher was picked ahead of the more experience Adrian.

Inter ‘growing’

Inter Milan are not a great team yet but are growing, striker Romelu Lukaku said after he scored twice in a crucial 3-2 victory at Borussia Moenchengladbach on Tuesday that handed the Italians a lifeline.

The Belgian forward notched both goals in the second half to keep Inter in the battle for a knockout spot going into their last Group B match against Shakhtar Donetsk.

Yet they conceded a goal to the Germans in the 76th minute to set up a tense finale to the game.

“Maybe we are not a great team yet but we are growing,” Lukaku said. “Obviously when you are leading 3-1 you have to avoid the risks we had tonight and kill the game when you have the chance to.”

City top group

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola said his players can now fully focus on turning the tide in the Premier League during a busy festive period after securing top spot in Group C with one game to spare.

Guardiola’s side surrendered their 100 per cent record in the Champions League group on Tuesday but a goalless draw at Porto was enough to finish as Group C winners with a potentially easier opponent in the last 16.

“In all the games away we have played a really high level. In general, I am more than delighted with the performance in these games,” Guardiola said.

Atletico wait

Atletico Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw at home to an understrength Bayern Munich side and made to wait to seal a place in the knockout stages. A late Thomas Mueller penalty for the visitors cancelled out Joao Felix’s early opener and Atletico now face a showdown at RB Salzburg next week.

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