On Wednesday, Liverpool overcame a sluggish start to defeat hosts Ajax Amsterdam 3-0, securing a top-two finish in Group A and moving on to the Champions League knockout round.
Three minutes before halftime, against the flow of play, Mohamed Salah gave Liverpool the lead. After the interval, they seized control with two quick goals from Darwin Nunez and Harvey Elliott to clinch a comfortable victory.
The result put them three points behind group leaders Napoli, who defeated Rangers 3-0 at home to earn all five possible points.
Ajax needed a two-goal win on Wednesday to keep their fragile Champions League ambitions alive, but they will now face Rangers in Glasgow next week for a Europa League berth.
Ajax started off in a vibrant manner and with an incredibly combative attitude that rattled Liverpool’s defence. Steven Berghuis smashed an early shot against the post.
It made for some tense interactions amongst the competitors, illustrative of the stakes involved in the match at the Johan Cruyff Arena.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson’s superb pass, delivered with the outside of his boot, was met by Mohamed Salah’s equally skilled finish, and the game changed dramatically and decisively in Liverpool’s favour. Salah lofted the ball expertly over Ajax goalkeeper Remko Pasveer as he rushed out of goal.
Within a minute, it may have been 2-0 as Nunez missed a simple tap-in at the back post following a selfless feed from Roberto Firmino. Nunez’s shot hit the post.
With a powerful glancing header from a corner four minutes into the second half, Nunez made amends, and Elliot’s goal two minutes later ended the match.
He was set up by a brilliantly weighted ball from Salah and unleashed a thunderous strike into the roof of the goal from an extreme angle.