Ajax vs Liverpool
| Wednesday, October 21st |
Champions League | Johan Cruijff ArenA
8PM BST / 3PM EST
For the first time since 1966, and only the second time in the history of the two sides, Liverpool travel to Amsterdam to take on another historic giant in Dutch champions Ajax.
Erik ten Hag may have sold 9 of the players who appeared in their devastating Champions League semi finals loss to Tottenham back in 2019, but de Godenzonen are not unfamiliar with having to replace their best players, and have yet again done an admirable job of building a team that plays interesting attacking football.
The hosts sit second in the Eredivisie after five games, and are coming off a thumping 5-1 win over Heerenveen on Sunday, with former Southampton man and Serbian international Dušan Tadić scoring a brace on the day. The 31-year old has been a key man since arriving at the Johan Cruijff ArenA and is Ajax’s top scorer on the season with three goals, alongside Brazilian starlet Antony, who will unfortunately miss out tomorrow’s clash through injury.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Adrián; Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Matip, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Keïta; Mané, Minamino, Salah
Speaking of injuries, Liverpool have enough to go around. Besides Alisson continuing his rehab, and the season-ending, surgery-requiring ACL tear brought on Virgil van Dijk by Jordan Pickford’s nightmare challenge on Saturday, the Reds will have to make do without Joël Matip, likely forcing a move to centre-back for Fabinho for the second time this season. The Brazilian did well in his last outing, helping to shut out Timo Werner and Chelsea, but one still hopes Matip will be back in action sooner rather than later.
Midfield is predictably not short on injuries either, with Thiago sitting this one out after Richarlison’s horror show in the derby. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain remains unavailable, and a trio of Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson and Naby Keïta seems likely, with James Milner and Curtis Jones potential jokers.
Up top, with the schedule being what it is this season, one expects some rotation to take place, and as Jürgen Klopp has quality depth for his frontline for the first time, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Diogo Jota or Takumi Minamino replacing Sadio Mané or Roberto Firmino in the starting line-up.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “We know how strong Ajax is, we respect them a lot. It’s a wonderful city, great stadium, super team, exactly how the Champions League should be.”
Erik ten Hag: “Liverpool are the best team in the world, but we want to play against teams like this.”
The Officials (GER)
Referee: Felix Brych
Assistant referees: Mark Borsch, Stefan Lupp
Fourth official: Daniel Siebert
VAR: Christian Dingert, Marco Fritz
Kickoff is set for 8PM GMT/3PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.