Liverpool will Ajax in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, looking to bounce back from their humbling against Napoli in the group opener.
Liverpool were handed a reality check in Naples, with Napoli picking up a 4-1 win against Jurgen Klopp’s side. Liverpool were thoroughly outplayed on the night, and Klopp will demand a strong reaction from his players here.
On the other hand, Ajax managed to pick up a 4-0 win over Rangers in their group opener, and they will fancy their chances of piling further misery on a struggling Liverpool side. The Reds have had a disappointing start to the new season, and they have picked up just three wins from eight competitive matches across all competitions so far.
Liverpool have had some time to rest and regroup after the hammering against Napoli due to their weekend’s postponed fixture and it remains to be seen whether the players can step up and grind out the first win of their European campaign at Anfield tomorrow night.
There is no doubt that Liverpool are the better team on paper, but Ajax have all the confidence and momentum with them. There is no reason why they cannot pull off an upset in Merseyside.
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— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 12, 2022
Liverpool have endured a number of injury problems since the start of the season, and Tuesday’s game will be no different. Jurgen Klopp will be without some of his key players against Ajax due to injuries.
Ibrahima Konate (knee) and Jordan Henderson (hamstring) continue to be sidelined with their respective issues. Meanwhile, Andrew Robertson picked up an injury against Napoli and is set to be sidelined until after the international break.
Youngsters Curtis Jones and Calvin Ramsay are sidelined as well. Midfielders Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were not included in the UEFA Champions League squad, and they are set to miss out as well.
Alisson Becker is expected to continue in goal after a fine performance against Napoli. Trent Alexander-Arnold is the only right-back available in the squad right now and the England international is set to start once again.
Meanwhile, Joel Matip is expected to start ahead of Joe Gomez, who dropped a disastrous performance against Napoli last time out. Matip will partner Virgil van Dijk at the heart of Liverpool’s defence, and Kostas Tsimikas is set to replace the injured Robertson.
In the midfield, Liverpool had been handed a major boost. Thiago Alcantara returned to action last week, and the Spanish international is expected to start alongside Fabinho and Harvey Elliott in the middle of the park.
Finally, in the attack, Darwin Nunez is expected to get his first UEFA Champions League start for Liverpool, with Mohamed Salah and Luis Diaz expected to start alongside him in the final third against Ajax.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Tsimikas; Elliott, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Nunez, Diaz
Mohamed Ihattaren is the only injury worry for Ajax this week, and Alfred Schreuder is thus expected to field the same team that picked up a 4-0 win over Rangers.
Ajax are likely to deploy their free-flowing 4-3-3 system here and take the game to the hosts.
Remko Pasveer will start in goal, and the back four will comprise of Devyne Rensch, Jurrien Timber, Calvin Bassey and Daley Blind.
Edson Alvarez, Steven Berghuis and Kenneth Taylor should form the midfield three, and Mohammed Kudus is set to lead the line for Ajax against Liverpool, starting alongside Susan Tadic and Steven Bergwijn in the final third.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Pasveer; Rensch, Timber, Bassey, Blind; Berghuis, Alvarez, Taylor; Tadic, Kudus, Bergwijn
- Liverpool have won their last two matches against Ajax in the UEFA Champions League.
- Ajax are looking for their first win over the Premier League giants since 1996. They are winless in the last five matches against the English club.
- In their last 46 European campaigns, Liverpool have lost their first home match just twice.
- Ajax have lost just two of their last 25 away matches in European competitions.
- Liverpool suffered their joint heaviest Champions League defeat against Napoli, and they have never lost their first two matches in any European campaign.
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The Spanish international is undoubtedly the best midfielder at the club, and he showed his quality when he came on against Napoli in the second half last week. Liverpool were thoroughly outplayed in the first half, but they improved significantly following Thiago’s substitution.
Ajax prefer to play a free-flowing attacking brand of football, and they are likely to leave gaps for Liverpool to exploit. Thiago is an exceptional controller in the middle, and he has the quality to really hurt the opposition by picking out his teammates with inch-perfect passes.
Liverpool 2-1 Ajax
This is not going to be an easy outing for Liverpool by any stretch of the imagination. Ajax are a well-drilled unit who are very efficient going forward. If Liverpool continue to defend as they did against Napoli, they could be in for a torrid outing here.
That said, the return of Thiago makes a huge difference, and Liverpool will be hurting after the humiliating loss against Napoli. They have the better squad on paper and should be able to edge this one. The Hard Tackle predicts a hard-fought 2-1 win for the Reds against Ajax.