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Tagliafico’s own-goal gives Liverpool 1-0 win at Ajax

Tagliafico’s own-goal gives Liverpool 1-0 win at Ajax
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AMSTERDAM - Liverpool’s makeshift defence held firm and a fortunate goal earned Jurgen Klopp’s team a 1-0 victory over Ajax on Wednesday in their Champions League opener at the empty Johan Cruyff Area.

Ajax defender Nicolas Tagliafico turned a mishit shot by Sadio Mane into his own net in the 35th minute for the only goal of the match.

At the other end, a combination of poor finishing, bad luck and an acrobatic goal-line clearance by stand-in central defender Fabinho denied Ajax a goal.

Liverpool was playing without captain and central defender Virgil van Dijk after the Dutchman suffered a serious knee injury in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Everton. Also missing were goalkeeper Alisson Becker, Joel Matip and Thiago Alcantara.

Klopp paired midfielder Fabinho with Joe Gomez in central defence while 19-year-old Curtis Jones got his first Champions League start in the midfield.

The hosts should have taken the lead in the 33rd minute when David Neres passed to Quincy Promes, but the Netherlands winger shot too close to Adrian and the goalkeeper stuck out his right foot to save.

Just over a minute later, Liverpool was in front when Mane turned away from Perr Schuurs before scuffing his shot that led to Tagliafico’s own-goal.

Fabinho preserved his team’s lead at halftime when he hooked the ball off his goal line after Dusan Tadic had lobbed Adrian in the 44th minute.

Liverpool escaped again a minute after the break when Davy Klaassen’s powerful shot from the edge of the penalty area beat Adrian but hit the post.
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