Liverpool left it late but they ultimately got the job done against Ajax on Tuesday night to win 2-1 in the Champions League.
Jurgen Klopp had an unenviable task of trying to rally a demoralised squad after last week’s capitulation in Naples, but the German coach demonstrated exactly why he is one of the most celebrated coaches in world football after bouncing back here against European royalty.
The Reds got off the mark early on to placate any early fears, scoring in the 17th minute through who else but Mohamed Salah — by this point last week the travelling Merseysiders were already a goal down and facing the prospect of Victor Osimhen scoring from the spot.
Ajax rallied themselves, responding and restoring parity through a thumping strike from Everton-linked Mohammed Kudus, who looked destined to rock up across Stanley Park in the summer at one stage, but he ultimately stuck around in Amsterdam and has produced on Merseyside regardless.
Tension was palpable at half-time as Klopp searched for answers. And the winning lottery ticket ultimately came through a moment of inspiration from Kostas Tsimikas and Joel Matip. Together they combined in the dying embers to restore Liverpool’s advantage from a corner.
Tsimikas has started to feature more regularly for Liverpool in recent times, and there will be clamour for his involvement even when Andy Robertson returns from a recent injury picked up against Napoli last week. The Scot is not expected back until after the international break.
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But, it would seem that Klopp already has a ready-made attacking No. 3 to alleviate that void. At Anfield on Tuesday, Tsimikas was a playmaking force at left-back, creating the most chances of any player in the pitch (five), as well as being the only player to register more than 10 crosses (14).
It’s that kind of attacking zeal and tenacity on the flank that’s synonymous with a Klopp full-backs, and here Tsimikas threw down the gauntlet, telling his boss that he’s ready to step up and consistently challenge for Robertson’s starting berth.
It was an strong performance from the Greek.