*Bumper* Post-Match Analysis: Liverpool 2-1 Ajax

*Bumper* Post-Match Analysis: Liverpool 2-1 Ajax
September 13, 2022 Andrew Beasley

 

Paul Tomkins, Andrew Beasley, Daniel Rhodes, Chris Rowland and other TTT regulars will give their thoughts on the match for 24 hours after the game, and there’s post-match statistics and videos too.

Post-Match Thoughts

Paul Tomkins

I still find it absolutely insane that you can think you’ll defend set-pieces in England with a defence about as tall as your average 12-year-old boy from the Middle Ages.

Liverpool’s two centre-backs alone must have wasted six great headed chances between them (four for the no.4) before Joël Matip finally put an end to the pantomime, and the Reds got a deserved, if stuttering, win.

Ajax, time-wasting, play-acting*, and basically being shithouses that belie both their age and their history of slick football, were like boys against men when the Reds threw the kitchen sink at them at set-pieces. The Dutch broke up play, aided by a quite awful referee who added about a quarter of the time he should have, but the tidal wave of corners had to blow them down.

(* The fact that any defender or keeper can now just go down in the six-yard box and the game has to stop is farcical, given that everyone knows a serious injury when one occurs. Use this for a drinking game during Liverpool’s matches this season, and you’d have been paralytic each week.)

It’s all very well in Holland (where, bizarrely, people are so tall), but I find it an insult to think you can see off 6’4″ and 6’5″ players with guys shorter than Ken Dodd’s old friends from Knotty Ash.

A sign of Liverpool’s snatching at chances all night long could be seen in Virgil van Dijk and Matip heading chance after chance over, or straight at the keeper. Confidence wasn’t there, from front to back. Indeed, “straight at the keeper” almost summed up the night.

I expected Liverpool to really go at Ajax, but the mojo really wasn’t there to mount significant pressure, even if the game was pretty much all in one direction. It just wasn’t consistently good attacking. Still, it proved enough.

The Reds were clearly improved on the whole after the shitshow in Italy, but Fabinho seemed to watch the first half pass him by, including Ajax’s runners. He at least joined the proceedings after the break. The Reds’ short-game was poor, with not much build-up play, and lots of long balls that were mostly overhit.

That said, one long Alisson ball allowed the modestly-sized Luis Díaz to out-jump one of those tiny Ajax defenders, and Diogo Jota – lively on his first start of the season – took the nod-down to set up Mo Salah for the opening goal.

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