Champions League Match Preview: Ajax vs Liverpool
Date & time: October 21st, 2020 - 8pm
Where: Johan Cruyff Arena
Is it on: BT Sport 2
Ref: Felix Brych (GER)
Less said about the Derby, the better. It was a series of terrible decisions from officials, allowing the Blues to get away with, well, almost literal murder. In many ways, the fact the Champions League games come thick and fast is something of a blessing.
But we move on. The Reds still sit 3rd in the Premier League after five games, despite that draw and the previous loss to Aston Villa. This will be anything but a normal season.
Hopefully that is also the case in the Champions League as well, as in seasons that aren't quite normal Liverpool tend to excel in Europe.
It won't be easy though, particularly with the players that the team are now missing at the back, and Ajax are likely to look to take advantage of that tonight.
Of course, the best way to put the memories of Saturday morning to bed are to beat Ajax tonight, and get off to a great start.
Ordinarily in the Champions League group stage, at least 9 points is what is required to qualify to the knockouts. But winning as many games as possible, as early as possible, is the preference.
Injuries & Suspension
The obvious big loss for Liverpool tonight is Virgil Van Dijk, who could miss most of the remainder of the season. Liverpool have called in Nat Phillips and Billy Koumetio have both been called up to the first-team squad for the game tonight.
And that is largely due to the absence of Joel Matip, meaning our only fit senior centre back is the chronically out of form Joe Gomez.
The concern, of course, is that that may mean Fabinho steps in at the back which, with the absence of Thiago tonight as well, means we'd be short of two of our first choice midfielders as well. We will hopefully see the return of Kostas Tsimikas to the squad, however.
It's going to leave us looking a bit threadbare in certain positions, something which was threatened at the start of the season but most hoped wouldn't come about. It has.
For Ajax only Brazilian youngster Anthony is missing, but that is honestly unlikely to have much of an impact on their game plan/approach.
Last 5 games:
Ajax (all comps): W-W-W-L-W
Liverpool (all comps): W-W-L-L-D
Predicted Line up
Let's be honest here, this isn't going to be an easy one to pick. Does Fabinho play at centre back or does Klopp have faith in Nat Phillips or Billy Koumetio?
Does Milner come in in some capacity, to add experience to the team in Van Dijk's absence, or do we bring Naby Keita back to ensure we have the required creativity in midfield to take the game to Ajax? There's a lot of questions that only Jurgen Klopp can answer tonight.
Predicted starting XI: Adrian, Trent, Fabinho, Gomez, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Milner, Mane, Salah and Firmino.
Subs: Kelleher, Phillips, Tsimikas, Keita, Jota, Minamino and Origi.