Liverpool defeat Ajax to qualify for Champions League knockout stages

An impressive performance from Kelleher in the absence of Alisson helped Liverpool secure qualification for knockout stages of Champions League. The Reds clinched the top spot of their group as Atalanta could only manage a draw against FC Midtjylland, leaving Ajax and Atalanta to battle it out for the remaining spot on Matchday 6.

Kelleher made his European debut for Liverpool as Alisson missed out due to a hamstring injury. The hosts almost had a perfect start when Jones’s curled effort seemed destined to top right-hand corner but rebounded off the post after the midfielder was set up by Mohamaed Salah. Kelleher was forced into a couple of great saves from Klasssen and Mazraoui as Ajax started to force their way into the game. Schuurs was lucky not to be sent off after bringing down Mane as the Liverpool forward surged past him through on goal. However, the referee decided to brandish a yellow instead of red as the first half remained scoreless.

The visitors missed couple of great chances to take the lead as Klaassen missed a header from close range and Neres saw his effort cannoned off the post. The miss proved to be costly as Liverpool took the lead after a mistake by Onana allowed Jones to volley in at the far post from 2 yards out. Liverpool could have had a second in few minutes after a mistake from Ajax backline let Salah in, but Onana raced out to gather the ball before the striker could pounce. The Reds were guilty of missing a couple of great chances after Salah and Firmino failed to beat Onana on a one-on-one situation. Huntelaar almost nicked a point in the final minutes for Ajax after powering a header towards goal from close range, but Kelleher reacted brilliantly to parry it away with a reflex save.

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