Liverpool into knockout stages with win vs. Ajax

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Liverpool into knockout stages with win vs. Ajax

Injury-hit Liverpool secured their place in the Champions League round of 16 with a 1-0 win against Ajax at Anfield on Tuesday. The goal came in fortuitous circumstances and against the run of play when Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana failed to collect Neco Williams’ cross from the right wing, allowing Curtis Jones to tap-in at the far post with the outside of his boot. Jurgen Klopp’s men began the game knowing they would qualify for the knockout stages if they avoided defeat, but they were dealt a blow prematch when Alisson was ruled out through injury. Caoimhin Kelleher deputised and the 22-year-old put in a solid performance on his Champions League debut, saving well from Noussair Mazraoui in the first-half and doing well from an Antony shot after the break, which saw David Neres strike the post with the rebound. But his star moment came when he denied Klaas-Jan Huntelaar from point-blank range in the final exchanges to seal the win. “It was an amazing one for me, to make my debut in a Champions League game was massive and we got the win and qualified. A great night,” Kelleher said. “That’s what I’m there for, I work every day in training to make sure I am ready and I was able to make a good few saves.” Liverpool have 12 points from five games and top the group following Atalanta’s 1-1 draw against FC Midtjylland. Ajax, with seven points, are a point adrift of second-placed Atalanta and need victory over the Serie A in their final group game to reach the round of 16.