Pressing in vain for an equalizer left Ajax hanging by his fingernails against Liverpool’s trademark counter-attacks.
The Dutch side knows what to expect: forcefully, down the left side, straightforward, clever link-ups in between the lines, erosion from the right side with tact and creativity.
Except Sadio Mane, Roberto Fermino and Mohammed Salah did not harm.
The front three were swooped in an hour earlier, as Jurgen Klopp, pleased to use the five-substitute rule, was brought on by Diogo Jota, Takumi Minamino and Zerdan Shakiri.
Any relief Ajax felt briefly on the general attack was soon called off as the ensuing trio gave evidence of strength in depth for Liverpool at the front.
Minamino and Jota in particular were standouts, with the latter giving another impressive cameo, following his £ 41 million arrival from Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The two may find themselves unfortunate to not have had much playing time in recent weeks, with Minamino again comparing Roberto Fermino, making his 50th European appearance for the club.
With five crucial games within 15 days – including two more in the Champions League – both have shown that they are ready for a start.
Jones learns that Midfield turns back the clock
Curtis Jones has never lacked confidence.
From netting a dramatic penalty shoot-out winner against Arsenal, curling the winner on his derby debut and handling the former jersey of fellow homegrown midfielder Steven Gerrard, Jones has been more than ready to assume responsibility.
The 19-year-old, then, will be rubbing his hands in anticipation of making his Champions League debut in the opening XI in Amsterdam.
Making only the 10th start of his cumbersome Enfield career, Jones was quite clean and adequate with any major errors.
However, he was about to make way in the break as Jurgen Klopp saw a misfiring midfield again.
This was always a possible circumstance to land Fabinho in defense, especially with Jordan Henderson starting at the back.
Skipper’s introduction to Jones at half-time added some extra cover to the backline, relieving Jinnie Visionaldum of her defensive responsibilities and offering more legs to help the ever-ready James Milner.
Seeing the old midfield trivirate again might not have been expected to indicate to Liverpool supporters that they have been in place since a regular facility for more than two years.
But a bang from the past helped the Reds make this difficult first Champions League hurdle.
Battle Reds show heart
If continued even after some impact of the terrible defeat at Aston Villa earlier this month, there is one aspect of the loss that has been strongly addressed.
The way Liverpool snatched seven goals did not reveal their famous “mindset demons” suggestions.
Apparently, however, they were just taking a rare day off.
Only one controversial VAR decision from Goodison has kept Klopp’s side from answering their Villa Parks with two impressive away wins.
The two saw him shouting about important players either during or before the match, after which Liverpool simply rolled up their sleeves and climbed on to it.
It was the kind of attitude that saw him so closely on the way to the title last season.
Indeed, the Reds have now won their last three Champions League group games, winning only one of the last 10.
This strangeness of the season will continue to generate a lot of surprises. A weak Liverpool mentality, however does not appear to be one of them.
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