Alisson Becker – 7.0
Started well, could do little but cover his angles as the ball struck the post in the opening moments, and looked steady enough through the opening stages. Was mostly untested as the reds took control through the second half.
Trent Alexander Arnold- 7.0
Back in as a starter, he looked unsure on the ball and tentative early on in his defensive work. Nearly created a big chance early on with a lazy inside ball. Grew in confidence after a shaky first half, though a great block was crucial late in the half.
Andy Robertson – 7.0
Sloppy on the ball early on, and seemed off whenever in possession from the outset. He looked more confident as the half went on, and had a good couple of moments in the final third after 30 mins. A good game in the end, as his match improved alongside the reds.
Subbed – 87 mins
Virgil Van Dijk – 7.0
The controller, he was happy to drop off as Joe went with the striker. Was dragged about a little early on, as Ajax had the better momentum. Was marshalling well as the reds grew into the game, and was nice and steady throughout.
Joe Gomez – 7.0
A physical start, where he tried to impose himself. Was very front foot, and tried to keep his defensive work and Poseidon play simple early on. Got lucky with an attempt led clearance late in the half, where Ajax probably should have scored as a result. A little jittery at times positionally in the second, but good overall.
Jordan Henderson – 7.0
Tried to break up play early on, but equally stood off too often at times. The opening goal came, and he was superb in the assist and build up. A solid enough outing, though still needs to offer more when tracking.
Subbed – 70 mins
Fabinho – 7.0
Looked more comfortable in the middle of a three, with Bobby dropping in out of possession. Started to hunt the ball higher up, and these are good signs.
Subbed – 70 mins
Harvey Elliott – 7.0
Kept busy, was a willing tracker and runner from the start. A brilliant goal for the reds third, after a great run. So enthusiastic in his play and allows Mo to stay central.
Subbed – 70 mins
Mohamed Salah – 8.0
Started up top alongside Nunez, with clear instruction to drift wide when Ajax had the ball. Had little in the way of service through the opening stages, until the goal. The captain put a wonderful pass into his path, and it was a sublime finish around and over the flaying keeper. The assist for Harvey was exceptional, and showed how effective he can be through the middle.
Roberto Firmino – 7.0
Was the tip of a diamond, and tried to work from midfield to attack. Was hounded and surrounded through the first half. Passed late in the half when he should have shot, as the reds took control. Work rate off the ball was good enough, and had the odd good moment in possession.
Darwin Nunez – 7.0
Liverpool went long too often in the opening period, as Darwin was tasked with stretching an organised rearguard. Should have scored just after the first went in. The second half saw him start with real intent, a cross nearly went in, and the resulting corner had him plant a firm header beyond the keeper. A good game that allowed us to stretch the opposition when needed.
Subbed – 63 mins
Curtis Jones – 5.0 (on 63)
More minutes count. Looked more comfortable from a wider position.
James Milner – 6.0 (on 70)
Nice and steady.
Fabio Carvalho – 5.0 (on 70)
Will benefit more from these types of games, where pressure isn’t so high.
Stefan Bajetic – 5.0 (on 70)
Good to have more options, and the opportunity to rest senior players for promising youngsters.
Kostas Tsimikas – N/A (on 70)
Jurgen Klopp – 8.0
The formation was a more familiar 4-3-3 that would slide into a diamond on the ball. It didn’t gel early on, as Ajax started the better team. The cohesion wasn’t there, as the new strike partners played outside to in. The starting line up was as predicted, and it was a system built to drop into a more compact shape out of possession, whilst sporadic on the ball.
Started to gain control late in the first half, but would then open up in lapses of concentration.
The goal came and another should have followed, as Liverpool started to take control.
The reds looked far more aligned at the start of the second half, and took the game away from Ajax. The diamond and front two allowed much more attacking play to eventually unfold, and Mo / Darwin as a pair should be built upon. Taking off Darwin and shifting to a 4–2-3-1 made sense, and will see Darwin rested and confident for Saturday.