Liverpool guaranteed their place in the last 16 of the Champions League after Andre Onana's error handed Curtis Jones the winning goal in an edgy 1-0 victory.
Alisson was a surprising omission from Liverpool's starting XI as Jurgen Klopp revealed he will be out for up to two weeks with a hamstring injury. Caoimhin Kelleher - making his Champions League debut - started in goal ahead of Adrian.
But it was the man at the other end who made a rookie-like error when the usually reliable Onana allowed a Neco Williams cross to loop over his head and be tapped home by Curtis Jones (58) - a goal very much made in the Liverpool academy.
Jones' finish came at a time when the visitors were pummelling the Liverpool goal, with David Neres striking a post just 60 seconds before the eventual winning goal.
The result guarantees Klopp's side top spot in Group D meaning their final game against FC Midtjylland will be a dead-rubber - a welcome boost for Klopp and his team's busy schedule.
Liverpool: Kelleher (7), Neco Williams (7), Matip (7), Fabinho (7), Robertson (6), Henderson (6), Jones (7), Wijnaldum (7), Salah (5), Jota (6), Mane (5).
Subs: Firmino (6)
Ajax: Onana (4), Mazraoui (6), Schuurs (7), Blind (7), Tagliafico (6), Gravenberch (7), Álvarez (7), Klaassen (6), Neres (6), Tadic (6), Antony (7)
Subs: Labyad (6), Traore (6), Huntelaar (6), Martinez (6)
Man of the match: Curtis JonesHow Onana's oh-no moment helped Liverpool...
Surprisingly given their prestigious European histories, this was just the second meeting between these heavyweights in over 50 years with a Nicolas Tagliafico own-goal separating the two in the corresponding fixture in Amsterdam.
Ajax will have taken confidence from that tight encounter and came to Anfield full of bravery in possession as they tried to play out from the back at every opportunity. Liverpool pressed intelligently early on and Jones rattled the post on five minutes after being set up by Diogo Jota from 22 yards.Team news
Caoimhin Kelleher was given a surprise start in goal with Alisson out. Klopp made five changes in total from the weekend with Joel Matip returning at centre-back to partner Fabinho whilst in attack Sadio Mane plays in a front three with Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah.
Klopp was looking towards the heavens minutes later when Andy Robertson required treatment on an ankle problem but he managed to run the injury off. The bright early transitions from Liverpool eased off as the half wore on with Ajax dominating possession.
Noussair Mazraoui tested Kelleher from 25 yards and the goalkeeper responded with a flying save that was perfect for the family album.
Ajax, full of enthusiasm but lacking a little composure in the final third, maintained their tempo after the break but former Everton man Davy Klaassen wasted a fine opening following a super Dusan Tadic cross.
Liverpool were sinking deeper as the pressure grew. Antony cut in off the right wing and tested Kelleher with a low effort which he was equal to but only pushed the ball out to Neres, who smashed an effort against the outside of the post from a tight angle.
Just as Liverpool looked like wilting under the pressure, Onana let them off the hook with a moment of comical goalkeeping. Williams sent a cross in from deep that Onana felt was heading out for a goal kick but Jones was alive to the situation and somehow managed to reverse a clever finish from near the by-line into the unguarded net.
The goal seemed to settle Liverpool down as they managed the final stages in professional fashion.
Onana redeemed himself slightly when tipping substitute Roberto Firmino's shot onto a post but the damage had already been done and Kelleher made sure his debut would be one to remember when making a point-blank save from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.Man of the match: Curtis Jones Image: Star man: Curtis Jones (r) celebrates with Neco Williams
Move over Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, Liverpool's attacking impetus came from Jones. He was the one who was making things happen from his midfield role. Ajax were given a taste of his adventure in the final third in the first five minutes as he fired two efforts on goal, the second of which came flashing back off the woodwork. His energy, intelligence, and quality were on full show for the winning goal when his gamble paid off after the horrendous lapse by Onana.
"What a game he played, he's a really good player," said Klopp.
The youngster is certainly taking his chance.What the manager saidMerse: A difficult night for Liverpool
Sky Sports' Paul Merson, speaking on Soccer Special:
"It was a massive mistake by the goalie but fair play to Jones - he gambled and it was a really tidy finish. They've played a good Ajax team, Liverpool. They've got quite a few injuries, they've played a lot of games, and they won. We expect them to put on a show all the time but this was a difficult game.
"And that's what I like about Liverpool: when they don't play well they still win football matches. They were efficient and [Kelleher] should be very pleased. He was absolutely outstanding in everything he did. Has he made himself second choice? I would say so. He was very confident. He can put his head to the pillow tonight and think: I did well."What's next?
Liverpool are back in Premier League action on Sunday evening at Anfield against Wolves before heading to play Danish Superliga champions FC Midtjylland in their final Champions League group game.
Venue – Anfield, Liverpool
Referee – Tobias Stieler (GER)
Date & Time – Tuesday, December 1st 2020 @ 20:00
Current Odds – Liverpool 4/6, Draw 16/5, Ajax 15/4
Watching football is becoming more of a chore, isn’t it? The joy is slowly being sucked out of it by VAR and the endless stoppages inflicted on games now with a huge lack of any kind of consistency relating to in-game situations. I say this as someone who was all for the introduction of VAR and increased use in video technology. It’s become a farce, though. VAR was meant to reduce the arguments around decisions within a football match. It has done the opposite. Let’s hope it doesn’t play too big a part when Ajax visit Anfield on Tuesday night. It will, though, won’t it?FORM
Liverpool again looked tired against Brighton on Saturday. With the crazy December schedule about to undoubtedly make The Reds’ injury list even longer, there’s a lot that could go wrong for Jürgen Klopp and co in the coming weeks. If Liverpool can navigate December well enough to still be in the top three of the Premier League come January while also qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League, then that will have to be considered a huge success, given the circumstances.
Liverpool’s 3-0 win against Leicester was their only one in the last four games. However, their two draws were both away from home, at Brighton and Manchester City. The City game, in particular, can’t be viewed as a poor result.
The only concern is that another defeat against Ajax could have a bad knock-on effect on the rest of the season. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
Ajax have gone eight games unbeaten in all competitions since their defeat to Liverpool back in October. They have won seven of those eight games, including a 13-0 victory over VVV Venlo and two more 5-0 wins, all in the Dutch Eredivisie.
Ajax are currently first in the league, two points clear of Vitesse. They are second in our Champions League group, level on points with Atalanta and two behind Liverpool.TEAM NEWS
Liverpool Team News
Liverpool are without Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, James Milner, Thiago Alcântara, Xherdan Shaqiri and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Naby Keïta will face a late fitness test but it’s likely he will also miss this game.
The good news is that Jordan Henderson returned to first-team action as a second-half substitute against Brighton on Saturday.
Neco Williams will have to start at right-back even though the young defender has been having a tough few weeks of it. With Milner out injured now as well, Jürgen Klopp has no other options until Alexander-Arnold returns to full fitness.
Joël Matip and Fabinho could start in central defence and it’s likely that Kostas Tsimikas comes in at left-back to help manage Andy Robertson’s minutes during this hectic schedule.
Klopp could opt for the 4-2-3-1 formation with Henderson partnering Gini Wijnaldum in midfield.
Sadio Mané should return to the starting eleven alongside Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.
Ajax Team News
Erik ten Hag is likely to be without Daley Blind while Mohammed Kudus is out with a long-term injury.
Ajax will be playing in a 4-3-3 formation with former Southampton man Dušan Tadic one of their star men now.PREDICTED LINEUPS
Liverpool XI (4-2-3-1) – Alisson; Williams N, Matip, Fabinho, Tsimikas; Henderson, Wijnaldum; Jota, Firmino, Mané; Salah
Ajax XI (4-3-3) – Onana; Mazraoui, Schuurs, Martínez, Klaiber; Labyad, Klaassen, Gravenberch; Neres, Traore, TadicWHEN THEY LAST MET
Liverpool won 1-0 away to Ajax in their opening Champions League group game this season. A Nicolás Tagliafico own goal was the only difference between the sides at the Johan Cruijff ArenA. Liverpool’s Fabinho also performed a wonder clearance with a bicycle kick off the goal line to preserve the lead in the game.PREDICTION
LIVERPOOL 1 – 1 AJAX
Liverpool are going through a sticky period and Ajax are no pushovers. Tuesday night’s game is going to be a very tight affair with a draw a very likely result, given The Reds’ current injury situation. Jürgen Klopp has the headache of trying to pick a lineup that could get the win while also managing the workload on his players considering how many first-team starters Liverpool are already missing through injury.
Liverpool host Ajax as the Champions League and a draw or win would see the Reds progress from the group stage. We’re live to bring you the latest.
Kickoff at Anfield is 8pm (UK), the referee is Tobias Stieler (GER).
Liverpool: Kelleher; N.Williams, Matip, Fabinho, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Jones; Salah, Mane, Jota
Subs: Adrian, Jaros, R.Williams, Tsimikas, Cain, Clarkson, Minamino, Origi, Firmino
Ajax: Onana; Mazraoui, Schuurs, Blind, Tagliafico; Klaasen, Gravenberch, Alvarez; Neres, Antony, Tadic
Subs: Stekelenburg, Scherpen, Ekkelenkamp, Klaiber, Timber, Labyad, Martinez, Promes, Traore, Huntelaar
Our coverage updates automatically below:
[unable to retrieve full-text content]Visit our Match Centre for the best live and interactive build-up, in-game updates and post-match coverage as Liverpool host AFC Ajax in the Champions League.
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson will be out for up to two weeks with a hamstring injury, Jurgen Klopp has confirmed.
Alisson missed Liverpool's Champions League tie against Ajax on Tuesday, with Caoimhin Kelleher starting in goal ahead of Adrian.
"It is not Covid," Klopp told BT Sport in his pre-match interview, when asked why Alisson was not in the Liverpool side.
"That is something we have to mention when it is not the case, and it is not the case. He told us after the game [against Brighton] he felt his hamstring in the 60th or 70th minute.
"A little one but enough for today and probably for another week, we will have to wait and see. I have never heard of a hamstring that is only four or five days so it will be 10 to 14 days, I think."1:30 Thiago Alcantara's recovery from a knee injury sustained in the Merseyside derby in October will take a few more weeks, says Jurgen Klopp
Alisson's injury adds to Klopp's long list of absentees as they continue to try to challenge both in Europe and the Premier League.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri remain unavailable, along with James Milner, who suffered a hamstring injury against Brighton on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Virgil van Dijk and Thiago Alcantara remain long-term injuries.Klopp's praise for Kelleher Image: Jurgen Klopp congratulates Caoimhin Kelleher after Liverpool's 1-0 win over Ajax at Anfield
Despite Liverpool's injury problems, Klopp fielded a strong side against Ajax as they booked their spot in the last 16 with a 1-0 victory.
Klopp's decision to hand a Champions League debut to 22-year-old goalkeeper Kelleher ahead of established number two Adrian raised eyebrows but the goalkeeper was solid throughout and kept a clean sheet.
Kelleher was making only his fifth start for the club, the previous four being in domestic cup competitions with the last of those coming in the FA Cup against Shrewsbury Town last season.
Explaining his decision to pick Kelleher, Klopp said: "I really think Adrian has done a fantastic job for us, he kept a lot of clean sheets, played everywhere.
"But now we needed the natural football playing ability of Caoimhin Kelleher.
"He is a good shot-stopper as well. We made that decision but you never know how they are going to cope. I am really happy with how calm he was and how good he was.
"In the end it is about keeping the ball out the net and he did that twice and he did that in an exceptional manner. He will either sleep really well tonight or not at all."Klopp hopeful on Robertson, Henderson Image: Andy Robertson suffered an injury scare against Ajax
The match threw up more injury worries, with respective ankle and back problems for Andy Robertson and Jordan Henderson, and Klopp is keeping his fingers crossed for good news.
"Both played through so I would say we have now two days more than we had last week so I think (they are OK)," he said.
"Things like this show up the next day a little different but in the moment I am positive about it. That is a problem for the next few days but not tonight."
Alisson will “probably” be out for “another week” at the least with a hamstring injury sustained during the draw at Brighton on the weekend.
Rumours had been flying regarding the Brazilian’s availability for the Champions League clash against Ajax after his absence from Monday night training was noted.
Suggestions had been it was potentially COVID-19 related, but the boss swiftly dismissed them as he confirmed news Reds would dread to hear, with his absence now set to see him miss both the games against Ajax and Wolves, at the very least.
“Alisson doesn’t have COVID. He told us after the [Brighton] game he felt it after 60-70 minutes, his hamstring,” Klopp said.
“He’s had a scan, a little one, but enough for today and probably another week. I never knew a hamstring injury that wasn’t 10-14 days.”
If the timeline is somewhat close to what Klopp is suggesting, Alisson could also be in line to miss the meetings with both Midtjylland and Fulham.
It is the second time this season that the Reds will not be able to call upon their No. 1 following on from a shoulder injury which saw him miss three games in October.
It’s a massive blow for Klopp as the defence has already been forced into an upheaval this season and the absence of Alisson sees yet another vocal and experienced head lost to the side within a period where injuries continue to mount.
Jürgen Klopp has provided an update on the fitness issue that ruled Alisson Becker out of tonight's Champions League clash with AFC Ajax.
The Brazilian goalkeeper is sidelined due to a hamstring injury, meaning Caoimhin Kelleher makes his European debut for the Reds.
Speaking to BT Sport pre-match, Klopp also admitted Alisson was likely to miss the weekend's Premier League match with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The boss said: "So it's not COVID, I think it's something we have to mention when it's not the case – and it's not the case.
“He told us after the game that he felt in the 60, 70th minute of the last game his hamstring. [We] did a scan, it's a little one but enough for today and probably for another week.
“We don't know exactly, we have to wait and I've never heard about a hamstring is only four or five days, so 10 to 14 days I think.
“Then we had to make the decision: Queev or Adrian. And Queev, I know him pretty much five years, four years for sure – I'm not sure when he came to the first team, training with us and stuff like this.
“He's just improving and improving and improving and he's a football-playing goalie, good shot-stopper, which is obviously the most important thing. My job is to make decisions and I did that.”
The Reds need a win or a draw to ensure progress to the knockout stages of Europe’s top-tier tournament, in their bid to reclaim the European Cup after relinquishing it earlier this year.
Ajax are the opponents, however, with this Tuesday night clash far from a foregone conclusion – Erik ten Hag’s side have scored 31 goals in their last five league games.
Klopp is, as ever, restricted by injuries as he names his side to take to the pitch at Anfield, with Alisson missing out as a precaution due to yet another muscle injury.
With an increased squad permitted in the Champions League, youngsters Jake Cain and Leighton Clarkson are among those named on the substitutes’ bench.
Liverpool: Kelleher; N.Williams, Fabinho, Matip, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Jones; Salah, Mane, Jota
Substitutes: Adrian, Jaros, R.Williams, Tsimikas, Cain, Clarkson, Minamino, Origi, Firmino
Ajax: Onana; Mazraoui, Schuurs, Blind, Tagliafico; Klaasen, Gravenberch, Alvarez; Neres, Antony, Tadic
Substitutes: Stekelenburg, Scherpen, Ekkelenkamp, Klaiber, Timber, Labyad, Martinez, Promes, Traore, Huntelaar
Caoimhin Kelleher starts for Liverpool in tonight’s Champions League fixture with AFC Ajax at Anfield.
With Alisson Becker missing out as a precaution due to a tight leg muscle, the 22-year-old goalkeeper is handed his first European appearance for the Reds between the posts.
Elsewhere, Jordan Henderson returns in midfield, while Joel Matip is back in defence.
Sadio Mane and Curtis Jones are also restored to the XI as Jürgen Klopp makes five changes from the draw at Brighton & Hove Albion at the weekend.
Liverpool: Kelleher, N. Williams, Matip, Fabinho, Robertson, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Jones, Mane, Salah, Jota.
Subs: Adrian, Jaros, Firmino, Minamino, Tsimikas, Origi, R. Williams, Cain, Clarkson.
There were some sublime strikes across the club in November and now you can choose Liverpool's Goal of the Month.
We have compiled a shortlist of 10 efforts by the first team, Women and Academy - which can be watched in the video above.
But the winner is decided by you. Cast a vote below and stay logged on to Liverpoolfc.com to see who comes out on top.