The Reds suffered a humiliating defeat to Nottingham Forest in the Premier League last weekend, so Jurgen Klopp will be glad that the uninspiring performances haven’t translated into their form in the prestigious European competition.
Despite being away from home, Liverpool enjoyed more possession (51%), more shots on target (five v two) and completed more accurate passes (87% v 82%) when visiting the Johan Cruijff ArenA last night.
The Merseysiders had a slow start getting into the game, and for the large majority of the first half, there wasn’t much to report on until the inevitable Mohamed Salah finally found the back of the net in the 42nd minute – converting a golden opportunity provided by the Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson.
After half-time, it was clear very quickly that Liverpool wanted to kill the game off and, after hitting the post in the first half, Darwin Nunez finally got his goal in the 49th minute, followed up by the third and final goal of the game just three minutes later when Harvey Elliott calmly slotted the ball home.
Although attacking players such as Salah are likely to have stolen the headlines after demonstrating their ruthless quality against Ajax, there was one player who stepped up most for Klopp in the Champions League clash.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, like so many of his teammates, has had a very inconsistent season so far, however, he has been one of the players who has thrived after the manager tweaked his tactics and formation somewhat.
Over his 90-minute display last night, the right-back – who was hailed a “genius” by journalist Neil Jones – enjoyed 88 touches of the ball, won 100% of his duels, made one interception and one clearance off the line, whilst he also successfully completed 100% of his dribbles.
There is no doubt that Klopp will be thrilled that Alexander-Arnold is finally hitting a good run of form and improving his work rate in the team, especially considering the congested fixture list ahead of the Reds before the World Cup break next month.
In terms of the international tournament, the talented full-back’s recent defensive performances should be hard for England manager Gareth Southgate to ignore after Reece James sustained a knee injury that renders him unlikely to make it back in time for the early stages of the World Cup.
With that being said, if Alexander-Arnold can continue to keep working hard and displaying his defensive capabilities, not only will it benefit Liverpool in the next few weeks, but will surely put him in strong contention to travel to Qatar with the England squad in November.