Joel Matip was the Liverpool hero as his thumping late header handed the Reds a much-needed 2-1 win over Ajax at Anfield on Tuesday.
The defender secured three priceless Champions League points with his 89th-minute heroics, a huge relief for boss Jurgen Klopp after last week’s 4-1 humbling by Napoli.
Mohamed Salah earlier ended a seven-game goal drought in the competition to nudge Liverpool ahead, but Ajax were level before the half-hour mark as Mohammed Kudus capped a 26-pass spell of possession.
Ajax went close through Daley Blind late on, but Matip was more precise as his header crossed the line despite Dusan Tadic’s desperate attempts to keep it out.
The hosts edged ahead in the 18th minute as Alisson’s kick reached Luis Diaz, who found Diogo Jota. From a central position, Jota fed the eager Salah, who lashed past Remko Pasveer and into the bottom-right corner.
Diaz and Jota went close as Liverpool threatened to add to their opener, but the Reds were caught out by a rapid Ajax break down the left, which culminated with Kudus’ sublime finish into the top-left corner.
Pasveer saved well from Virgil van Dijk’s header, and then denied Trent Alexander-Arnold twice in quick succession before the interval.
Both Van Dijk and Matip then headed over the crossbar from set-pieces as Liverpool kept up the pressure after the break, but Blind almost stunned Anfield from Tadic’s right-wing cross when he nodded a foot wide of the right-hand post.
Liverpool Substitute Darwin Nunez shot wide with seven minutes remaining, but Matip came good with time running out, rising to meet Tsimikas’ corner and power the ball towards goal.
While Tadic nodded away, the former Southampton man was a foot behind the line when doing so, and the relief inside Anfield was obvious as the goal was awarded.