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Klopp praises Gomez and Fabinho but warns his players 'there is a lot to improve' after Ajax win


‘We are not dumb enough to think we didn’t need a bit of luck’: Jurgen Klopp praises Joe Gomez and Fabinho for their clean sheet in Liverpool’s win over Ajax but warns his players ‘there is a lot to improve’

  • Jurgen Klopp was delighted with the determination his side showed in Ajax win
  • Liverpool boss was particularly impressed by defenders Joe Gomez and Fabinho
  • But Klopp did warn his players that there is still plenty room for improvement
  • He said: ‘The clean sheet is one information but we could have done a lot better’

Jurgen Klopp hailed Liverpool’s battling qualities that enabled them to emerge from a ‘pressure situation’ in Amsterdam with a confidence restoring victory.

Liverpool beat Ajax 1-0 thanks to an own goal from Nicolas Tagliafico but their performance in their opening Group D fixture was characterised by the way midfielder Fabinho moved back into central defence and never put a foot wrong.

The highlight of his display came just before half-time, when he acrobatically scooped Dusan Tadic’s lob off the line. Ajax were a nuisance throughout and they came close to grabbing an equaliser when Davy Klaassen hit a post early in the second period.

Jurgen Klopp was impressed with how his Liverpool team battled to win three points at Ajax

Jurgen Klopp was impressed with how his Liverpool team battled to win three points at Ajax

An own goal from Nicolas Tagliafico in the first half was enough for Liverpool to win the game

An own goal from Nicolas Tagliafico in the first half was enough for Liverpool to win the game

Klopp conceded there is still significant room for improvement in Liverpool’s form but, after a turbulent week that began with Virgil van Dijk being ruled out for the majority of the season, the manager was delighted with his team’s determination.

‘Was there pressure in the situation? Yes,’ said Klopp. ‘It (a clean sheet) is huge but we are not dumb enough to think we didn’t need a bit of luck as Fabinho needed to make a proper stretch to get that ball from the line and they hit the post.

‘The clean sheet is one information but we could have done better. I don’t care in the moment. We wanted to win the game and we have done that but now we don’t hang the clean sheet too high because there were two situations where we were not far away from perfect.

Liverpool registered a clean sheet and Klopp was complimentary of Joe Gomez's performance

Liverpool registered a clean sheet and Klopp was complimentary of Joe Gomez’s performance

Fabinho was also a standout performer and made a vital goal-line clearance in the first half

Fabinho was also a standout performer and made a vital goal-line clearance in the first half

‘But the result is absolutely OK. Now on Saturday night a completely different challenge. Sheffield United have had their legs on the sofa and we need to recover quickly. It was a good performance but there is a lot to improve – and that is good.’

All eyes were on Fabinho and Joe Gomez, given the injuries to Van Dijk and Joel Matip, but Klopp did not have any doubts about whether the Brazilian would be able to cope with the different demands that were asked of him.

‘For the two at the back, it was their first game together,’ said Klopp. ‘They need to get used to each other, they need to get used to the verbal demands. Fabinho can play the position, he likes playing it actually. If I asked him to play right back I don’t think he would enjoy it as much.

‘In our situation we have to keep those boys fit. I’m not surprised Fabinho plays in the position, otherwise I would have thought about a different solution. That would have been tricky but I’m really pleased.’

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