Mohamed Salah and Liverpool beat Ajax 1-0 in their first game of the 2020-2021 UEFA Champions League on Wednesday at Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Photo by Maurice Van Steen/EPA-EFE
Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Premier League champions Liverpool managed to steal a victory in their 2020-2021 Champions League opener thanks to an Ajax own goal in the first half of the win in the Netherlands.
The 2018-2019 Champions League winners put six of their 16 shots on frame, but could not beat Ajax keeper Andre Onana in the 1-0 win on Wednesday at Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam.
"It was not the most easy-on-the-eye performance from both teams, I would say," Reds manager Jurgen Klopp told reporters.
Ajax left back Nicolas Tagliafico broke the deadlock on accident when he deflected a shot into his own net in the 35th minute.
Ajax nearly equalized in the 44th minute, but Reds fullback Fabinho made a fantastic goal-line save to deny the score.
Ajax striker Dusan Tadic received a long ball up the middle of the field during that sequence. He used his first touch to lob a shot over Reds keeper Adrian. The attempt was headed into the net before Fabinho raced in and flicked the ball backward and away from the Liverpool goal.
"As a goalkeeper, keeping a clean sheet is a massive thing and the last few games we conceded many goals, some cheap goals," Adrian said.
"[On Wednesday,] it was good keeping a clean sheet and scoring one goal to get us three points."
Liverpool hosts Sheffield in a Premier League match at 3 p.m. EDT on Saturday at Anfield. The Reds resume Champions League group stage play with a game against Midtjylland at 4 p.m. EDT on Tuesday in Liverpool, England.
Ajax battles VVV-Venlo in the Eredivisie at 10:30 a.m. EDT on Saturday in Venlo, Netherlands. Ajax returns to Champions League play with a match against Atalanta at 4 p.m. EDT on Tuesday in Bergamo, Italy.