London ball

Liverpool into Champions League Round of 16 after beating Ajax

Liverpool qualified for the Champions League last 16 after beating Ajax 3-0 at the Johan Cruyff Arena thanks to goals from Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez and Harvey Elliott.

Having had their woodwork shaken from the start by Steven Berghuis, the Reds took the lead in the 42nd minute via the arrival of Salah.

Nunez, fit again, hit a post soon after, before extending the visitors’ lead with a 49th-minute header.

Mohamed Salah put Liverpool ahead (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Elliott then added a fine strike three minutes later as Jurgen Klopp’s men, for whom a draw would have been enough to join Group A leaders Napoli in the next round, returned to winning ways four days after the shock 1-0 defeat in the Premier League at Nottingham Forest.

They next face Leeds at Anfield on Saturday night, before wrapping up their Group A fixtures on Tuesday by hosting Napoli, whom they are three points behind and lost 4-1 in their first European campaign game.

Liverpool survived an early scare when Berghuis sent a shot against the post in the third minute after looking certain to score.

And with Ajax continuing to apply the pressure, Edson Alvarez missed on target, Berghuis fired wide after Liverpool gave up the ball, and Jorge Sanchez’s strike was caught by Alisson Becker.

Darwin Nunez
Darwin Nunez organized several celebrations (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Klopp’s side then started to make more of an attacking impression as Salah saw an attempt blocked by Alvarez in the 29th minute and Andy Robertson fired into the side netting.

The action then returned to the other end, with Trent Alexander-Arnold doing well to hinder an effort from Dusan Tadic, before Jordan Henderson brought a save to Remko Pasveer.

Moments later, Liverpool then took the lead as Henderson’s excellent pass was met by Salah, who flicked the ball past Pasveer with a deft touch.

And they nearly doubled the advantage two minutes later when a break ended with Nunez’s shot returning from the upright.

Harvey Elliot
Harvey Elliott scored Liverpool’s third goal (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Shortly after the break Nunez, back in the starting line-up after recovering from a hamstring injury, put the Merseysiders 2-0 up, heading in from Robertson’s corner.

They then quickly tightened their grip on the proceedings once more with Elliott adding the number three, the 19-year-old scoring his second Champions League goal after being netted by Salah.

Virgil van Dijk headed wide as Liverpool looked to increase their score further, and Salah then hit a shot wide.

It was between Steven Bergwijn and Kenneth Taylor doing the same for the home side, and then there was a wide strike from Alvarez six minutes from time as Ajax’s last 16 chances ended.