Joel Matip pounces with decisive moment to lift Anfield pressure

Liverpool celebrate Joel Matip's dramatic late winner - Ed Sykes/ACTION IMAGES
Liverpool celebrate Joel Matip's dramatic late winner - Ed Sykes/ACTION IMAGES
  • Matip heads precious late winner for Liverpool

  • Salah had put home side ahead in the first half

  • Kudus blasted spectacular equaliser for Ajax

Not yet the return of the form that made some of his players giants of Liverpool’s recent past, although at least this time – when it mattered most – there was something that resembled the best Champions League performances of the Jürgen Klopp era.

That was Joël Matip’s 89th minute goal that won the game just when it looked like Klopp’s side were running out of time. Which is, of course, when all the great teams come alive. They were less than a week on from their Naples humiliation, and this time they were up against the youthful force of Ajax, capable of astonishing acts of self-renewal after every good side of theirs is sold off. A stage set for all kinds of frustration, and all kinds of frustration came Liverpool’s way, yet in the end Klopp’s players forced it over the line.

Not by much: Matip’s header from a corner won with a late surge of pressure was headed out by Dusan Tadic just inches over the line and in a way that represented Liverpool’s night. Just enough in it to win this, their second game of group A in the Champions League, and settle some of the anxieties stoked in the defeat by Napoli the previous week. In years past they might have bulldozed through Ajax much sooner than the 89th minute but something remains off-key about this Liverpool side. They are not quite capable of crushing opposition the way they once were.

They will not play again now until October 1 – the postponement of the Chelsea fixture this weekend and then the international break have introduced a strange hiatus to this most hectic of seasons. After the shock of the malfunction against Napoli last week, and nine points dropped already in the Premier League, it may feel like Liverpool’s season will start anew next month. This performance was much closer to how the side is supposed to look.

Klopp was in no doubt that this was a major improvement. “If you put the Napoli [performance] and tonight next to each other you probably wouldn’t recognise that the two are the same sport,” he said. “The football we played, the way we attacked, the way we defended, everything was different. Much higher intensity, much more aggression. Braver, more ready – everything was better. It was the first step - nothing more.”

They had much more of the ball, and in the returning Thiago Alcantara, arguably the game’s most influential player. He was starting his first game since the league opener against Fulham on August 6 and with the old Spanish maestro back there was a much greater balance in the midfield. Even so this was an Ajax team that had not conceded a goal for 546 minutes over five games when Mohamed Salah scored for Liverpool after 17 minutes. The Dutch champions’ seven-game winning streak was ended eventually but not without quite a struggle.

Mo Salah scores the opening goal at Anfield - Stu Forster/Getty Images Europe
Mo Salah scores the opening goal at Anfield - Stu Forster/Getty Images Europe

Alisson had been reluctant to expose his defenders to the fierce press of Ajax’s front three and had, on more than one occasion, waved them off and kicked the ball long in behind the midfield. On 17 minutes, Luis Díaz won the critical first header from a long Alisson hit forward, Diogo Jota pounced on the loose ball and Ajax were cut open to present Salah with a straightforward finish.

There was a breathtaking equaliser from Mohammed Kudus nine minutes later, the latest great Ajax creation scoring with his side’s only shot on target all night – and hit at double the velocity of the typical effort on goal. It had come down Liverpool’s right, with the left winger Steven Berghuis running off Trent Alexander-Arnold – another moment when the No 66 just seemed to lose the thread of the game. Berghuis’ cut-back saw Steven Bergwijn and Kudus converge on the ball with the former Spurs man making way for the Ghanaian striker. If his first touch was a little heavy, his second was sublime.

The ball was clubbed past Alisson with Kudus’ left foot, in off the underside of the bar of the goal that sits in front of the Kop. It was a finish of astonishing confidence. Ajax have sold around €220 million worth of players this summer to clubs in England, Germany, France and Italy – as well as losing their manager – and here was the next startling talent announcing himself.

Klopp would say later that his team’s press had lost the intensity of the early stages after the Ajax goal and that it was addressed at half-time. On the left side of Liverpool’s attack was the constant fizz of Díaz. The right side was Salah against the 32-year-old Daley Blind. Klopp’s players never looked like they would lose but there were long periods of times when it was possible to imagine they would not win it.

Daley Blind missed an excellent chance to give Ajax the lead in the second half - Stu Forster/Getty Images Europe
Daley Blind missed an excellent chance to give Ajax the lead in the second half - Stu Forster/Getty Images Europe

​Liverpool had plenty of the ball – just too few of the chances that might make a difference. On came Roberto Firmino and Darwin Núñez for the last 20 minutes or so, the latter making his first Anfield appearance since that debut day red card at the stadium. They switched from a 4-3-3 to something closer to a 4-2-3-1 with Firmino as the No 10. Even so the best chance that came was a header for Blind, unmarked at the back post on 75 minutes. Having run all that way to make himself available for the cross the Manchester United man painstakingly directed it the wrong side of Alisson’s post.

Before the winning goal came there had been chances for Liverpool: a Díaz cross that ran through the area and then Salah’s deflected shot that hit the post and won the corner from which Matip won the game. It was his first goal in European competition since 2013.

Liverpool 2 Ajax 1, as it happened

10:26 PM

Jurgen Klopp's reaction

We had to put in a completely different shift [from the Napoli game]. The boys did that, played some really good stuff against a good opponent.

Nothing is over, negative or positive. It’s a first step, a very important step for us, and now we have a strange break. We have to hope and pray that the boys come back healthy [after the international break].

10:10 PM

Virgil van Dijk's verdict

It was very important for us to show a positive reaction after the horror show in Naples. It was really important to win and get that good feeling going into the international break. We felt like we were dangerous at every set piece, so we felt it was our responsibility to convert at least one. Luckily, the one and only Joel Matip did it.

[On Liverpool’s blip] Not listening to the outside world is the most important thing. It’s funny, sometimes there are a lot of ex-footballers who know exactly what we go through, but they say a lot of things to try to get us down. We know last week was unacceptable, very bad, and we’re trying to make it right. This is a step in the right direction, but don’t get carried away.

10:08 PM

Joel Matip reacts

I wasn’t sure [the header was over the line] but when I saw the referee, the emotion came out!

10:03 PM

Jamie Carragher's take

09:53 PM

Full time: Liverpool 2 Ajax 1

Joel Matip's late header has given Liverpool a vital victory. They were deserved winners, no question, but the margins are fine at this level and Ajax will be thinking about Daley Blind's near miss all the way home.

It's far too early to say Liverpool are back, but this will do them the world of good. Nothing invigorates a team quite like a late winner, at home, in a vital game.

Jurgen Klopp reacts after Liverpool's victory over Ajax - Lindsey Parnaby/AFP
Jurgen Klopp reacts after Liverpool's victory over Ajax - Lindsey Parnaby/AFP

09:49 PM

90+1 min Liverpool 2 Ajax 1

Liverpool bring on James Milner for Luis Diaz.

09:49 PM

90 min Liverpool 2 Ajax 1

Berghuis is booked for something or other. There will be four minutes of added time.

09:49 PM

89 min Liverpool 2 Ajax 1

The resulting corner led to a precious goal for Liverpool. Tsimikas curled it towards the far post, where Matip towered over Bassey to power a header past Pasveer. It was headed away by Tadic - but he was behind the line when he did so and the goal was given.

09:47 PM

GOAL! Liverpool 2 Ajax 1 (Matip)

A huge goal at Anfield!

09:47 PM

88 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Salah hits the post! A poor header from Bassey was collected by Salah, 15 yards from goal. He turned and whipped a shot that hit Bassey before looping over the keeper and onto the outside of the post.

09:46 PM

88 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

All the vital statistics are in Liverpool's favour tonight, except the big one.

09:45 PM

86 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Ajax bring on Brian Brobbey for the goalscorer Kudus.

09:44 PM

85 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Nunez does superbly to chop back inside Sanchez near the byline and hammer the ball across the six-yard box. It looks like Diaz will have an open goal at the far post - but the diving Pasveer gets a vital touch to divert the ball away from him. Brilliant save.

09:42 PM

83 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Chance for Nunez! Firmino lobs a good pass to Salah, who lays it off for Nunez in the area. He drags a first-time shot a few yards wide of the far post. It was a good chance, though Salah's pass was slightly behind him.

09:40 PM

80 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Ajax bring on Florian Grillitsch for Kenneth Taylor.

09:37 PM

79 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Ajax work the ball nicely across the edge of the area to find Bergwijn, but his cross is too close to Alisson. Ajax are starting to threaten on the counter-attack again.

09:36 PM

77 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Thiago shoots straight at Pasveer from distance.

09:34 PM

75 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

So close from Daley Blind! Tadic was found in space on the right, and had plenty of time to stand up a cross beyond Alexander-Arnold at the far post. Blind met it with a powerful header back across goal that swerved just wide. Oof, what a chance.

Daley Blind heads just wide at Anfield - Stu Forster/Getty Images Europe
Daley Blind heads just wide at Anfield - Stu Forster/Getty Images Europe

09:32 PM

74 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Alexander-Arnold's corner from the right is headed over by Matip at the near post. It was a decent effort, but again he couldn't quite get over the ball.

09:30 PM

71 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Liverpool have had eight attempts at goal in the second half, Ajax none.

Kudus has a shot beaten away by Alisson, though he was well offside and everyone knew it.

09:26 PM

68 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

A change for Ajax - Jorge Sanchez replaces Devyne Rensch at right-back.

09:26 PM

67 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Tsimikas's cross is headed well wide by the under pressure Matip. Just before that, Matip passed up a decent shooting chance from the edge of the area.

09:25 PM

67 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Double substitution for Liverpool Firmino and Nunez replace Elliott and Jota.

09:25 PM

66 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Diaz somehow keeps the ball in play on the left, scurries into the area and forces a shot that is superbly blocked by Timber.

09:24 PM

65 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

A rare Ajax attack. Berghuis plays a good pass to the underlapping right-back Rensch, whose cross is cleared at the near post by van Dijk.

09:22 PM

64 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Salah is denied by Pasveer, with Elliott screwing the rebound into the side netting. The flag went up aftrer the event, though it was extremely tight so any goal might well have counted.

09:20 PM

62 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Bergwijn produces a brilliant turn to beat Matip, who brings him down cynically and is booked.

09:20 PM

61 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Diaz's long-range shot is blocked by Timber. It feels like a Liverpool goal is coming.

09:19 PM

60 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Thiago's free-kick is headed across goal towards Salah, but the stretching Blind does well to hook the ball off Salah and out for a goalkick.

09:17 PM

59 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Alvarez is booked for going through the back of Jota.

09:16 PM

57 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

A bit of a lull after that fast start to the second half. Ajax are passing the ball around in the middle third of the pitch; they'll take this result all night long.

Luis Diaz challenges Jurrien Timber - Lindsey Parnaby/AFP
Luis Diaz challenges Jurrien Timber - Lindsey Parnaby/AFP

09:13 PM

54 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Elliott shoots straight at Pasveer from 20 yards at the end of a move sparked by a monstrous 70-yard pass by van Dijk to Alexander-Arnold.

09:10 PM

51 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Timber goes through the back of Jota, 35 yards from goal in the inside-left channel. Tsimikas's outswinging free-kick is headed over by van Dijk at the far post. He rose well but couldn't quite get over the ball.

09:08 PM

50 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Liverpool have made a really fast start to the second half, with Elliott seeing a lot of the ball in midfield.

09:06 PM

47 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Ajax have a big penalty appeal turned down when Kudus goes over in the area after a challenge from behind by Salah. Replays show it wasn't a foul.

Liverpool break through Jota, who runs 50 yards before hammering a shot straight at the keeper from the edge of the area.

09:04 PM

46 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Ajax begin the second half. No changes on either side.

08:48 PM

Half time: Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Much more like it from Liverpool, who have played at an excellent tempo and deserve to be ahead.

Mo Salah did put them in front with a clinical finish, but then Mohammed Kudus rifled a memorable equaliser. Liverpool missed chances either side of Kudus's goal, and it's all square at the break.

08:45 PM

43 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Another save from Pasveer, who dances across his line to claim van Dijk's header. Liverpool are not flattered by this scoreline.

08:45 PM

42 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Pasveer makes a double save to deny Alexander-Arnold, who was put through by Diaz. Alexander-Arnold did well to cut inside the defender but then smacked a left-footed shot too close to Pasveer. That hit him in the chest, and Alexander-Arnold's follow-up from a tighter angle was also well saved.

08:42 PM

40 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Lots of Liverpool pressure now. Their tempo has been good tonight, and Thiago has added some swagger in midfield.

08:39 PM

38 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Both teams look vulnerable defensively, which is making for excellent entertainment. Liverpool haven't been at their pulsating best but they could easily have scored three or four.

08:37 PM

35 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Alexander-Arnold's outswinging corner from the right is met by the stooping van Dijk near the penalty spot. His header is pawed away to his left by Pasveer, an excellent reaction save, and eventually Ajax scramble the ball to safety.

08:36 PM

35 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

An outrageous dummy from Thiago allows Alexander-Arnold's pass to run across the field to Tsimikas. Nothing comes of it, but Thiago's dummy deserves to be on the record.

08:35 PM

Watch Kudus's spectacular equaliser

08:33 PM

31 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

A defensive header goes straight to Alexander-Arnold, 25 yards out. He chests the ball down and cuts across a beautiful shot that whooshes just over the bar.

08:31 PM

29 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

This is cracking entertainment. Ajax could easily have gone under Salah's goal but now they are right back in the game.

08:30 PM

27 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 1

Blind curled a pass around Alexander-Arnold to find Taylor in space on the left. His cutback was intended for Bergwijn but instead came to Kundu, 15 yards out. He shifted the ball away from van Dijk and scorched a rising drive that hit the underside of the bar and bounced into the net. What a spectacular finish!

Mohammed Kudus celebrates his spectacular equaliser - Ed Sykes/Action Images via Reuters
Mohammed Kudus celebrates his spectacular equaliser - Ed Sykes/Action Images via Reuters

08:28 PM

GOAL! Liverpool 1 Ajax 1 (Kudus)

Pick that out!

08:26 PM

24 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 0

Chance for Liverpool! Alisson plays a spectacular pass to find Jota on the left wing. He moves into the area and curls a superb cross that is stabbed wide of the near post by Salah, under pressure from Blind six yards out.

08:24 PM

23 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 0

Two near misses in the space of 45 seconds for Liverpool. First Diaz whistles a half-volley just wide from 15 yards, a decent chance following a half-cleared free-kick, and then Jota screams a long-range shot past the left-hand post.

08:21 PM

18 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 0

Berghuis hits the top of the bar, though everyone knew he was offside when Taylor's shot deflected towards him.

08:19 PM

17 min Liverpool 1 Ajax 0

Alisson's long kick was won in the air by Diaz, who headed it infield to Jota. He deftly made an angle to find the unmarked Salah to his right, and Salah finished emphatically past Pasveer.

08:19 PM

GOAL! Liverpool 1 Ajax 0 (Salah)

The front three combine for an excellent goal!

Mo Salah puts Liverpool ahea - Ed Sykes/Action Images via Reuters
Mo Salah puts Liverpool ahea - Ed Sykes/Action Images via Reuters

08:15 PM

13 min Liverpool 0 Ajax 0

Tadic cuts inside from the right and scoops a nice pass towards Kudus in the area. He takes it in his stride but is well shepherded by Matip and eventually runs the ball out of play.

08:13 PM

12 min Liverpool 0 Ajax 0

Ajax are seeing a bit more of the ball now, though Liverpool remain the more threatening side.

Joel Matip challenges Steven Bergwijn - Ed Sykes/Action Images via Reuters
Joel Matip challenges Steven Bergwijn - Ed Sykes/Action Images via Reuters

08:10 PM

9 min Liverpool 0 Ajax 0

A wicked free-kick from Alexander-Arnold on the right flashes across the face of goal.

08:09 PM

8 min Liverpool 0 Ajax 0

Salah plays a nice give-and-go with Alexander-Arnold, but he can't control the ball on the stretch in the area.

08:08 PM

7 min Liverpool 0 Ajax 0

Ajax try to play out from the back, but Bassey gets his angles wrong and lofts a square pass straight out of play for a throw-in. Liverpool have them pinned back at the moment.

08:06 PM

5 min Liverpool 0 Ajax 0

A teasing cross from Elliott is only half-cleared to Tsimikas on the edge of the area. He takes a touch and then hooks a shot high over the bar. The ball wouldn't sit down for him.

08:04 PM

3 min Liverpool 0 Ajax 0

Plenty of early possession for Liverpool, though nothing to report in terms of penetration or chances.

08:02 PM


Liverpool get the game under way.

08:01 PM

Players in the centre circle for the minute's silence

A hush falls over the ground before the referee blows his whistle. Aside from a few isolated shouts and urges to shush, it passes without incident.

07:59 PM

Latest from Sam Wallace at Anfield:

The Anfield public address started to play 'You'll Never Walk Alone" a few minutes ago and then cut out. There haven't been any announcements since.

07:57 PM

The players are in the tunnel at Anfield...

A shout of encouragement from Virgil van Dijk and out they come.

07:46 PM

Jurgen Klopp speaks

We want [a fast start] but we have to acknowledge the quality of the opponent. You have to keep going, that’s the most important thing. Thiago is important to us, he always was. But that alone will not change anything.

Diogo comes in – having Bobby and Darwin with the potential to come on is also good. Diogo combines their qualities a little bit. We also need to defend at a top, top, top level, even up front, and Diogo does that. It was not a difficult decision [to pick him].

Ajax are really good. They come from the opposite [place as Liverpool] – South and North Pole. They are flying, we are not. That’s how it is in football. Now we have to fight back step by step, starting tonight.

07:38 PM

More from Chris Bascombe at Anfield

Back on the pitch, Klopp's inclusion of Diogo Jota ahead of summer signing Darwin Nunez feels significant. It is early days in Nunez's career, but it is telling that for the second consecutive Champions League game he is a substitute. Klopp said when he signed the Uruguayan he would take time to adjust to Liverpool's style. With Klopp seeking a reaction, it seems the manager is not yet in a position where he trusts his new striker.

07:37 PM

The story so far

We know all about Liverpool's wretched defeat in Naples. Ajax started their campaign with an even more emphatic result, hammering Rangers 4-0 in Amsterdam. Even at this early stage, Liverpool just cannot afford to lose tonight.

Ajax celebrate during their 4-0 win over Rangers - BSR Agency/Getty Images Europe
Ajax celebrate during their 4-0 win over Rangers - BSR Agency/Getty Images Europe

07:28 PM

Chris Bascombe is our man at Anfield

There is obviously a lot of attention on how Anfield will pay its respects to Queen Elizabeth II this evening. There are emotional words from Jurgen Klopp in his programme notes tonight. Klopp has written the following:

“The events that surround tonight’s game means the occasion will be different to what we have become used to on European nights at Anfield.

“The loss of Queen Elizabeth II is a significant moment for the country and an incredibly sad moment for her family and all who cherished her, so playing football against this backdrop gives everyone involved a different kind of responsibility.

“As a club, we always take these responsibilities very seriously because it is the right thing to do.

“I can say this from my own first-hand knowledge: whenever anyone suffers a personal loss, the support you receive makes such a difference, so if it feels this way when you need it, it makes sense that we should provide it when someone else has the same need.

“One of the most memorable examples of this came last season when our supporters found their own way to support Cristiano Ronaldo after he suffered a personal tragedy. I think this surprised some people because Cristiano is a Manchester United player but it shouldn’t have done. Football supporters in general are good people who know what is important.

“The respect ours showed that night was impressive, of course, but it should not have been a surprise. Anyone who expected anything different made a mistake by thinking the worst of people and in my experience that is never a good place to start.

“On an occasion like this one, how we conduct ourselves matters and so do the words that we say, so I would like to take this opportunity to pass on our condolences to everyone who has been affected by the death of the Queen, particularly her own family who clearly had an incredible amount of love for her as a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother.

"Like any family, they will be suffering right now but I hope they have been able to take some comfort from the affection and support that has come their way.”

07:20 PM

Jamie Carragher's verdict on Liverpool's struggles

Every Liverpool opponent has outrun them in their seven games so far. That is more worrying than the results.

When Klopp and his think tank convene at the AXA training centre, the injection of energy must be top of the agenda.

Read more

07:09 PM

Jota's first start of the season

Diogo Jota, who has quietly been missed by Liverpool, starts for the first time this season. Thiago Alcantara, who like Jota came off the bench in Naples last week, also returns to the starting line-up after injury.

Overall there are four changes from that fiasco in Naples last week. Jota, Thiago, Kostas Tsimikas and Joel Matip replace Roberto Firmino, James Milner, Andy Robertson (who is injured) and Joe Gomez.

Stefan Bajcetic, Diogo Jota and Arthur Melo - John Powell/Liverpool FC
Stefan Bajcetic, Diogo Jota and Arthur Melo - John Powell/Liverpool FC

06:48 PM

The head-to-head

This is the third time that Liverpool have been drawn against Ajax in the Champions League. They beat them 1-0 home and away in the group stage two seasons ago, while Johan Cruyff's emerging Ajax famously hammered Liverpool 7-3 on aggregate in 1966-67.

06:41 PM

Ajax team news: Berghuis returns

Ajax (4-3-3) Pasveer; Rensch, Timber, Bassey, Blind; Berghuis, Alvarez, Taylor; Tadic, Kudus, Bergwijn.

Subs: Stekelenburg, Gorter, Klaassen, Brobbey, Ocampos, Kaplan, Lucca, Sanchez, Grillitsch, Baas, Regeer, Magallan.

06:39 PM

Liverpool team news: Jota and Thiago start

Liverpool (4-3-3) Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Tsimikas; Elliott, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Jota, Diaz.

Subs: Adrian, Davies, Gomez, Milner, Firmino, Nunez, Carvalho, Arthur, Bajcetic, Phillips.

06:35 PM

Good evening

Jurgen Klopp is demanding a reaction to the 'worst performance of his Liverpool reign' as his side takes on Ajax on Tuesday.

There have been so many clear-the-air meetings at Liverpool’s training ground this season it must be one of the healthiest places in the country.

The first sobering post-match debrief between Klopp and his players was after defeat to Manchester United in August. The second, following last Wednesday’s hammering in Naples, felt more serious given his side's underperformance this season.

“I watched the game back plenty of times and it was a real horror show to be honest,” said Klopp of the 4-1 loss in Italy.

“We showed the boys the situations as well. They knew, but seeing it again makes it really obvious. It was the worst game we played since I was here. We had a few bad games – everyone remembers Aston Villa (a 7-2 defeat) and some others where we were just not up to speed, but there were always glimpses in these games. In this particular game: nothing. Then you have to understand why that happens.”

The unexpected weekend break has given Klopp more time to find solutions.

His emphasis through the pre-match press conference was defence, although it will be simplistic to suggest that means he holds the back four alone accountable.

Liverpool’s problem has been structural, individual errors at the back accentuating the lack of protection further upfield, especially a pedestrian midfield. Klopp suggested his players need to win more individual duels.

“We have to realise it all starts with defending and we have got to give ourselves a chance to celebrate winning a challenge again,” said Klopp.

“There is no good game when a team plays flawlessly offensively and defensively were just a shambles, but there are games where teams defend well and do not play well offensively. It is all based on real defending and that is what we have to do and what we have to show.”

Asked if he has been more vocal than usual with his players, Klopp replied: “Yeah. I have to do something. I can't sit there and wait for how we react.

“It was not that I needed to say a lot about it, but I did anyway.There are four or five days now of absolute truth. We didn't hide anything, we didn't hold back anything, there was no need for that. We just said it how it is, but not to knock the players down or whatever, just to make sure where we are now is the starting point for us and we make sure we sort the problems together on the pitch. Is this the situation I wanted? No. But now you are in it you find it interesting and challenging.”

Klopp’s options are enhanced by Thiago Alcantara’s ability to start again, although Andy Robertson will be missing until after the international break with a leg injury sustained in Naples.

“A lot of good things happened in the past and this team showed an incredible kind of consistency over a long period,” said Klopp.

“I know how this business works. I didn't read a word about what was said about us but most of the things were probably fair. I watched the game back plenty of times and I would have asked a lot of questions about the people and the manager and the specific players. It is absolutely OK and we have to respond. For this we have to talk, we have to show and we have to train.”