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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp reveals the reason for sluggish Champions League display | Football | Sport

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp indicated that the pitch at the Johan Cruyff Arena was to blame for his side’s sluggish performance against Ajax in Wednesday’s Champions League win.

Liverpool made the perfect start to their Champions League campaign on Wednesday night.

The Reds got the three points after a Nicolas Tagliafico own-goal in the first half of the game.

Daley Blind flicked the ball in Tagliafico’s direction, with the left-back poking the ball into his own net as he attempted to clear the ball.

Ajax had a few chances of their own, and Fabinho was forced to make a dramatic clearance off the line after Adrian was chipped.

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Klopp took off his front three of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah after the hour mark, giving chances to Takumi Minamino, Xherdan Shaqiri and Diogo Jota instead.

Liverpool were unable to play their usual style of fast-paced football against Ajax, and struggled to move the ball forward with pace.

And after the game, Klopp insisted that the pitch made things difficult for both teams, and that both are capable of playing at a higher level than they showed on Wednesday.

He said: “It was a difficult game, and it looked like the pitch was difficult for both teams.

“I think both teams can play better football than they did tonight.

“We scored the goal, we had incredible counter-attacking chances that we didn’t finish off, we were unlucky hitting the post, but we should have scored more.

“But, again, if it isn’t your absolute best day and you have to put a proper shift in, the boys did that and I like that.

“These dirty wins are really important, and probably helps us more than an easy win, which wasn’t possible against Ajax.”

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And Klopp joked afterwards that his medical staff had decided the team for him, and that the players he selected looked rusty because they weren’t used to playing together.

“We came through with no injuries, so we’re fine. We got used to each other, had to change too much, of course, in the short period so everything worked properly.

“The medical department made the line-up, and we had a few players we could choose from.

“It was still a good line-up, we are still – in some important moments – not used to each other, that’s why it looked like it was a bit rusty. That’s okay.”

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