Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool’s win over Ajax is ‘one of the BIGGEST Champions League nights we have had’ as injury-hit Reds seal top spot in group – with Anfield boss reserving special praise for youngsters Caoimhin Kelleher and Curtis Jones
- Liverpool moved to the Champions League knockouts with a 1-0 win over Ajax
- Curtis Jones’ strike was the difference between the two sides on Tuesday
- Jurgen Klopp described the win as one of his biggest in European competition
- The Reds were indebted to rookie goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher who excelled
Jurgen Klopp described Liverpool’s victory over Ajax as one of his biggest in Europe as they reached the knockout phase with a game to spare.
Liverpool’s manager was emotional at the final whistle and gave special attention to goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher, goalscorer Curtis Jones and young right back Neco Williams for the roles they played in securing a 1-0 success that means they have won Group D.
Klopp has been involved in some dramatic group stage games at Anfield, against teams such as Paris Saint-Germain, Spartak Moscow and Napoli, but — even without fans in the stadium — he felt this was comparable due to the circumstances Liverpool have faced.
Jurgen Klopp described Liverpool’s win over Ajax as one of his biggest ever in Europe
The Reds beat their Dutch opponents 1-0 thanks to Curtis Jones’ (above) second-half goal
‘Honestly, since I’ve been at Liverpool, it feels (like) one of the biggest Champions League nights we (have) had and for sure, without supporters in, it was the most important and the most difficult and the most exceptional game,’ said Klopp.
‘Hendo had a proper knock in his back, Gini (Wijnaldum) played whatever number game, I don’t want to say.
‘I hope he can carry on. We defended like devils. It is not that we played the best football.
‘This is the situation we are in, that is what you make of it and we are top of the group after matchday five and we’ve never done that before. It is unbelievably good.’
Klopp was indebted to rookie goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher on his Champions League debut
The Irishman made several crucial stops including a late one from Klass-Jan Huntelaar (above)
The performance of Kelleher, who was making his Champions League debut, was huge. He made a superb save from Klass-Jan Huntelaar in the final minutes to preserve Liverpool’s lead and vindicated Klopp’s decision to play him ahead of Adrian to replace the hamstrung Alisson Becker.
‘Top, top, top,’ said Klopp. ‘It is a situation where I have to say it was easy to decide for Caoimhin because he deserves it but difficult to decide against Adrian because he has done well for us. He did a really good job but tonight we needed the package of Caoimhin.’
Kelleher added: ‘It was amazing. The most important thing was to get the win.
‘Thankfully I was able to make a few saves. That’s what I’m there for. It’s quite easy for me because when the players in front of me give the ball back to me, they always make the easy options.’
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