Liverpool vs Ajax Preview - Reds look to secure progression with a win
Venue – Anfield, Liverpool
Referee – Tobias Stieler (GER)
Date & Time – Tuesday, December 1st 2020 @ 20:00
Current Odds – Liverpool 4/6, Draw 16/5, Ajax 15/4
Watching football is becoming more of a chore, isn’t it? The joy is slowly being sucked out of it by VAR and the endless stoppages inflicted on games now with a huge lack of any kind of consistency relating to in-game situations. I say this as someone who was all for the introduction of VAR and increased use in video technology. It’s become a farce, though. VAR was meant to reduce the arguments around decisions within a football match. It has done the opposite. Let’s hope it doesn’t play too big a part when Ajax visit Anfield on Tuesday night. It will, though, won’t it?
Liverpool again looked tired against Brighton on Saturday. With the crazy December schedule about to undoubtedly make The Reds’ injury list even longer, there’s a lot that could go wrong for Jürgen Klopp and co in the coming weeks. If Liverpool can navigate December well enough to still be in the top three of the Premier League come January while also qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League, then that will have to be considered a huge success, given the circumstances.
Liverpool’s 3-0 win against Leicester was their only one in the last four games. However, their two draws were both away from home, at Brighton and Manchester City. The City game, in particular, can’t be viewed as a poor result.
The only concern is that another defeat against Ajax could have a bad knock-on effect on the rest of the season. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
Ajax have gone eight games unbeaten in all competitions since their defeat to Liverpool back in October. They have won seven of those eight games, including a 13-0 victory over VVV Venlo and two more 5-0 wins, all in the Dutch Eredivisie.
Ajax are currently first in the league, two points clear of Vitesse. They are second in our Champions League group, level on points with Atalanta and two behind Liverpool.
Liverpool Team News
Liverpool are without Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, James Milner, Thiago Alcântara, Xherdan Shaqiri and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Naby Keïta will face a late fitness test but it’s likely he will also miss this game.
The good news is that Jordan Henderson returned to first-team action as a second-half substitute against Brighton on Saturday.
Neco Williams will have to start at right-back even though the young defender has been having a tough few weeks of it. With Milner out injured now as well, Jürgen Klopp has no other options until Alexander-Arnold returns to full fitness.
Joël Matip and Fabinho could start in central defence and it’s likely that Kostas Tsimikas comes in at left-back to help manage Andy Robertson’s minutes during this hectic schedule.
Klopp could opt for the 4-2-3-1 formation with Henderson partnering Gini Wijnaldum in midfield.
Sadio Mané should return to the starting eleven alongside Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.
Ajax Team News
Erik ten Hag is likely to be without Daley Blind while Mohammed Kudus is out with a long-term injury.
Ajax will be playing in a 4-3-3 formation with former Southampton man Dušan Tadic one of their star men now.
Liverpool XI (4-2-3-1) – Alisson; Williams N, Matip, Fabinho, Tsimikas; Henderson, Wijnaldum; Jota, Firmino, Mané; Salah
Ajax XI (4-3-3) – Onana; Mazraoui, Schuurs, Martínez, Klaiber; Labyad, Klaassen, Gravenberch; Neres, Traore, Tadic
WHEN THEY LAST MET
Liverpool won 1-0 away to Ajax in their opening Champions League group game this season. A Nicolás Tagliafico own goal was the only difference between the sides at the Johan Cruijff ArenA. Liverpool’s Fabinho also performed a wonder clearance with a bicycle kick off the goal line to preserve the lead in the game.
LIVERPOOL 1 – 1 AJAX
Liverpool are going through a sticky period and Ajax are no pushovers. Tuesday night’s game is going to be a very tight affair with a draw a very likely result, given The Reds’ current injury situation. Jürgen Klopp has the headache of trying to pick a lineup that could get the win while also managing the workload on his players considering how many first-team starters Liverpool are already missing through injury.