Nicolas Tagliafico scored a horrendous own goal to give Liverpool the lead against Ajax.
While Virgil Van Dijk was the most popular name in the buildup to Liverpool’s Champions League opener against Ajax, it’s likely that Nicolas Tagliafico will be the most talked-about person following the match and not for the right reasons.
Throughout the game, the English champions struggled to impose their style on the match and defensively, they looked a bit erratic early on – Adrian and Joe Gomez got into a mix-up and the hosts looked dangerous going forward – but the visitors were gifted the lead just before half time.
Some good work by Sadio Mane down the flank saw him beat a couple of defenders but his cross-shot into the box was poor.
However, Mane’s ball was diverted by Tagliafico into his own net as he attempted to clear the ball with his left foot.
It was an absolute gift from the Argentine defender but Liverpool, who were below par in the first half, won’t be complaining over the manner in which they took the lead in Amsterdam.
The hosts will be ruing missed chances though as Adrian had to deny Promes with a smart stop, while a superb off the line clearance from Fabinho as he scrambled back to clear Dusan Tadic’s chipped effort kept Liverpool in front as the sides went into the break.
Ajax almost drew level at the very start of the second-half when Davy Klassen’s rasping shot struck the post for the hosts.
There were chances at both ends as Fabinho’s header was deflected wide for a Liverpool corner, from which Ajax broke and forced Adrian to save Quincy Promes’ strong effort from the edge of the box.
The second half was devoid of attacking flair though as Liverpool struggled to find their momentum, but Ajax couldn’t break the visitors down too.
As Ajax pushed for an equaliser, they left spaces at the back which Gini Wijnaldum and Takumi Minamino almost capitalised on in the late stages but their efforts were saved by Onana in the Ajax goal.
Ultimately, Klopp’s men did enough to get their Champions League campaign off to the perfect start but on reflection, they’ll be thanking Nicolas Tagliafico for this one.
You can take a look at Liverpool’s opening goal against Ajax below.
Liverpool lead in Amsterdam! 🔴
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) October 21, 2020