Liverpool vs Ajax
| Tuesday, December 1st |
Champions League | Anfield
8PM BST / 3PM EST
It’s been a rough week for Liverpool, with a dour loss to Atalanta mid-week followed up by dropping two points to Brighton and that last-gasp penalty on Saturday, but the Reds will look to boost their spirits by securing early qualification from Group D with a win or draw tomorrow night.
Since their 0-1 loss to the Reds at the Johan Cruijff ArenA a month ago, Ajax have been nearly perfect, winning twice and drawing once in Europe, and winning five straight in the Eredvisie, putting up a 31-2(!) goal difference in that span. As a result, they sit first in their domestic league after ten games, and only two points behind tomorrow’s hosts in Group D, with a genuine chance at qualifying to the next round.
The exciting Mohammed Kudus limped off early in the reverse fixture with a meniscus injury and has yet to return to action, but otherwise, Erik ten Hag boasts a full and healthy squad and will fancy his chances at a result at Anfield.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Fabinho, Matip, Williams, Tsimikas; Henderson, Jones, Wijnaldum; Mané, Firmino, Salah
The same cannot be said for Jürgen Klopp, whose side has been decimated by injuries in recent weeks, and who has been forced into a series of less than ideal lineup decisions as a result. Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, and Virgil van Dijk remain unavailable, while Andrew Robertson has played more minutes than any other Red this season and should probably be given a rest at some point.
As a result, a start for Kostas Tsimikas seems plausible, while Rhys Williams could be reinstated alongside Joël Matip who was rested at the weekend. At right-back, it is uncertain if Neco Williams is particularly well-served by continuing to start at this point, and with James Milner missing out with a hamstring issue, Fabinho might deputise at right-back.
That of course causes further trouble upstream, as Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Curtis Jones are now the only healthy midfielders available. Naby Keïta could be subject of a matchday decision but is unlikely to start.
Up top, Sadio Mané played only half an hour at the weekend, while Mohamed Salah got a full hour, so both will probably start, alongside either Roberto Firmino or Diogo Jota, depending on fitness and strategic factors.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “Ajax Amsterdam is a really good side and since our game is flying pretty much through the league. Big results, clear top of the table, very talented, some players coming back – these kind of things. Yes, I expect a close game.”
Erik ten Hag: “”
The Officials (GER)
Referee: Tobias Stieler
Assistant referees: Mike Pickel, Christian Gittelmann
Fourth official: Marco Fritz
VAR: Bastian Dankert, Harm Osmers
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.