'It was not sunshine football' - Liverpool boss Klopp relieved to get three points against Ajax

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Klopp Liverpool 2020
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The Reds started their Champions League campaign with a narrow victory in Amsterdam, much to their relief of their manager

Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp admitted his team didn't play "sunshine football" as they battled to a 1-0 win in their Champions League opener against Ajax.

A first-half own goal from Nicolas Tagliafico was enough for the Reds to secure all three points in Wednesday's match at Amsterdam ArenA in their first match without injured centre-half Virgil van Dijk.

It wasn't smooth sailing for the Premier League champions as they squandered several chances throughout match, while Fabinho was required to make a goal-line clearance and Ajax playmaker Davy Klaasen struck the post.

Klopp acknowledged Liverpool could put in a much better performance but revealed he was just happy to get three points to start their European campaign.

"It was good enough to win the game," Klopp told BT Sport. "That's what you need. I think both teams could play better football.

"At moments it was wild. The pitch was deep and muddy. Three days ago it looked completely different and in training yesterday it looked different.

"We did not take our chances which was a shame. Ajax had a big one which hit the post. When you're 1-0 up, these things can happen, but overall I'm happy with the game. It was not sunshine football but we wanted three points and we got it."

With Van Dijk likely to miss the entire season with a knee injury and Joel Matip also absent, holding midfielder Fabinho deputised in central defence alongside Joe Gomez.

The Brazilian international acrobatically cleared Dusan Tadic's lob off the line in the first half, with goalkeeper Adrian stranded.

Klopp wasn't sure why Fabinho was forced to make the crucial intervention, but spoke of his team's fighting qualities, singling out captain Jordan Henderson, teenage defender Rhys Williams and fringe duo Xherdan Shaqiri and Takumi Minamino.

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"I don't know how [Fabinho's clearance] happened in the beginning," Klopp revealed. "That's a good example of how the boys did today. It was not perfect but they fought brilliantly.

"I really liked the fresh legs up front. Jordan Henderson, the medical staff told me no 90 minutes but he did well. Rhys Williams played non-league football last year and now he has some Champions League football so what a moment for him. Some nice stories, three points.

"Xherdan Shaqiri was lively and Takumi Minamino was unbelievable. He is like a machine. It helps when you can make five changes."

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