Ajax vs Liverpool
| Wednesday, October 26th |
Champions League | Johan Cruijff ArenA
8PM BST / 3PM EST
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Liverpool are coming off a disappointing result in the Premier League and are looking to bounce back with a win in Europe to try and get their season back on track. Humans supposedly love repetition and patterns but this really isn’t working for me.
The Reds head to the Johan Cruijff ArenA for only the second time in their history, and the first time with a full crowd, setting the stage for what is likely to be a grand occasion. Jürgen Klopp’s men eked out a well-earned injury time win when the sides faced each other at Anfield back in September, and the expectation is that things will be no less challenging this time around.
While a draw will guarantee the Reds’ advancement to the next round of the competition, Ajax have to win or be relegated to the Europa League, and de Godenzonen should be in good spirits, coming into the match off three straight league wins in which they’ve accumulated 15 goals to maintain their lead at the top of the Eredivisie table.
Kenneth Taylor and Devyne Rensch are likely to participate but could miss out through injury, but top scorers, Steven Bergwijn, Mohamed Kudus and Brian Brobbey should all be fit to feature.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Elliott; Firmino, Núñez, Salah
For the Reds, Joël Matip remains unavailable, while Ibrahima Konaté is fit to play, if unlikely to feature from the start. As such, a back line of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson seems likely.
In midfield, Thiago will be sidelined with a knock, while Naby Keïta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are ineligible to play as they’ve not been included in the Reds’ Champions League squad for the group stage. Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Harvey Elliott is a plausible midfield constellation.
Up top, Diogo Jota and Luis Díaz will remain injured until after the World Cup, and as such, a trio of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Darwin Núñez — who has been cleared to play again after missing out at the weekend — is likely to lead the line.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “After our start in the group stage, it was not that people thought it was likely this can happen, but it happened and now we have to try to close it for us, the group, and that’s what we’re here for.”
Alfred Schreuder: “In the end it’s about the points. We have to believe we can do it and show healthy courage and aggression. We will do everything we can to win until the end. If we have to be satisfied with a point, then that’s what we will have to do. But we want to go for the win for as long as possible.“
The Officials (ESP)
Referee: José María Sánchez
Assistant referees: Raúl Cabañero, Iñigo Prieto
Fourth official: Cesar Soto Grado
VAR: Alejandro Hernández, Fedayi San (SUI)
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.