Match Preview: Liverpool vs Ajax
Date & time: December 1st, 2020 - 8pm
Is it on: BT Sport
Ref: Tobias Stieler (GER)
Defeat last Wednesday, a draw against Brighton on Saturday means the Reds are in somewhat mixed form over the past few games.
A draws, a defeat and a win has come in a tough run of fixtures that came in quick succession after the international break and Ajax tonight will be no different.
By contrast, Ajax are in great form, with their last defeat coming to.. you guessed it, Liverpool in the first game of the group.
It won't be quite as straightforward as last time, when Ajax looked somewhat shell-shocked or overawed at times, and we can expect a much tougher game tonight, particularly with our injury list being added to on an almost weekly basis now.
Injuries & Suspension
As the days pass, the injuries rack up, with now James Milner added to our lengthy injury list. We're coming to a point where it's close to bare bones in some areas of the pitch.
Rumours this morning suggest that Alisson may be out, after being missing from training, and concerns that he may be absent tonight. We'll only know once the team's are announced.
As at the weekend Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Thiago, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Xherdan Shaqiri are all absent, adding Milner to that list.
After making a second half appearance against Brighton on Saturday, Jordan Henderson will no doubt start tonight, whilst the welcome sight of Joel Matip today means he also will.
Ajax, on the other hand, have a fully fit squad to choose from, with no serious injuries to any senior players - lucky them.
Last 5 games:
Liverpool (all comps): W-D-W-L-D
Ajax (all comps): W-W-W-W-W
Predicted Line up
There are some big calls for Jurgen Klopp to make tonight, in terms of selection, particularly now that his favourite 'Mr Flexible' is out with a hamstring problem. There's also, as mentioned, rumours that Alisson may be out. So we'll have to assume that is true.
Does Fabinho start in midfield or does he start in defence? That's the first question. And perhaps the biggest one to answer. For me, it's almost a no-brainer that Fabinho starts in defence, with Henderson back. We should go with Gini and the captain in the midfield.
It's a tactic that Klopp has tried a couple of times before, with limited success, but needs must. Playing the two young Williams' in defence against a young, fast and dangerous Ajax side is a recipe for disaster.
Play our strongest team and finish the group off, with a game to spare. That would immediately lessen the load next week, allowing Jurgen to rest most of his best players. But then, I'm not the manager and these decisions always seem so much easier from here.
Predicted starting XI: Adrian, N. Williams, Fabinho, Matip, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Henderson; Mane, Jota, Salah, Firmino.