Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hailed his team’s performance after edging past Ajax 1-0 to reach the Round of 16 of the ongoing edition of the UEFA Champions League despite playing with a young squad.
The Reds’ youngsters took the challenge to prove their worth in the absence of many first-choice players. 19-year-old Curtis Jones scored the only goal and 22-year-old goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher fighting hard to keep a cleansheet on his European debut.
The win over Ajax saw Klopp’s men proceeding to the knockout stages with one round of matches still to be played in Group D. It will allow the German to give his team a much-needed rest.
“Honestly, since I am (at) Liverpool, for how it feels, one of the biggest Champions League nights,” said Klopp, who has guided Liverpool to two finals and won the competition in 2019.
Liverpool were without the service of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri, Trent Alexander-Arnold and James Milner through injury.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane dismissed the rumours that he would be sacked after their shocking 2-0 defeat against Shakhtar Donetsk in Group B of the Champions League.
Substitutes Dentinho and Manor Solomon scored half-time goals in the match which Zidane felt the Spanish champions did not deserve to lose. It was Shakhtar’s second win over the 13-time European champions this season having already won the first leg.
Shakhtar had lost their last two Group B matches against Borussia Moenchengladbach by an aggregate score of 10-0, but this victory allowed them to move above Real into second place in the group with one game remaining.
In another match, Inter Milan kept themselves floating after beating Monchengladbach 3-2. After Matteo Darmian had scored the opener, Romelu Lukaku netted a brace to keep Anotnio Conte’s men with a little hope to get a knockout berth.
Meanwhile, Bayern Munich rallied to draw at Atletico Madrid. Joao Felix had given the home team the lead in the 26th minute. Three points were almost in sight for Diego Simeone’s team before Thomas Muller converted a penalty in the 86th minute.