Liverpool host Ajax at Anfield on Tuesday, as the Reds aim to get their UEFA Champions League group stage campaign back on track.
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After Premier League games were postponed at the weekend as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Liverpool held talks with UEFA about hosting the clash at Anfield versus Ajax and it has been given the green light.
Liverpool have confirmed they will hold a minute’s silence before and players will wear black armbands as a mark of respect for Queen Elizabeth II. Their game at Chelsea on Sunday has been postponed due to events around The Queen’s Funeral taking place in London on Monday.
At Anfield on Tuesday, Jurgen Klopp’s side will be fully-focused on getting their first points of the Champions League group stage after being smashed 4-1 at Napoli in their Group A opener last time out. As for Ajax, well, they’re playing with house money after they demolished Glasgow Rangers 4-0 at home in their Group A opener.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Liverpool vs Ajax.
Latest UEFA Champions League news
How to watch Liverpool vs Ajax live, updates and start time
Liverpool’s defensive issues were laid bare at Napoli last week, as they were 4-0 down and it could have been worse for Jurgen Klopp’s side. Their high defensive line just isn’t working as Virgil van Dijk isn’t playing anywhere near his best and a huge number of injuries, especially to midfielders, is making matters worse for the Reds. Liverpool have won just two of their seven games in all competitions to start the season and with Mohamed Salah also scoring just twice so far, plus Darwin Nunez taking time to settle, there is concern that Liverpool may get stuck in this rut. Klopp’s reaction to the heavy defeat at Napoli was telling, as he suggested Liverpool may need to ‘reinvent themselves’ to snap themselves out of this. He has also revealed that Liverpool’s staff and players have spent hours dissecting the loss to Napoli and have been honest with how they can rectify their recent mistakes.
Ajax will look to take full advantage of Liverpool’s current malaise as Dusan Tadic continues to captain the side and create problems galore with his clever flicks and passes. Add in their brilliant display of forward running and high-pressing against Rangers and this is exactly the type of team Liverpool don’t want to face right now. The reigning Dutch champions have made a habit of causing upsets in the Champions League and going on deep runs in the competition in recent seasons. Despite being drawn into a very tough group, it feels like another run is brewing.
Liverpool vs Ajax head to head record
Liverpool faced Ajax in the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League group stage and won both games 1-0. The only other time they’ve played each other in European competition was in this competition in 1966, as Johann Cruyff inspired a 5-1 win in Amsterdam in the first leg, as a 2-2 draw at Anfield in the second leg led to a 7-3 aggregate win for Ajax over Liverpool. Ajax would go on to lose 3-2 to Dukla Prague in the quarterfinals of the 1966-67 European Cup, who then lost to eventual winners Celtic at the semifinal stage.
The lowdown on Ajax
Focusing on Ajax, well, they’ve sold so many star players (mostly to Manchester United) once again, and lost their manager Erik ten Hag to United, but they just keep on trucking. This summer new Ajax boss Alfred Schreuder saw his squad lose center back Lisandro Martinez and his best winger, Anthony, to United, plus Ryan Gravenberch and Noussair Mazraoui left for Bayern Munich, Andre Onana went to Inter Milan, Nicolas Tagliafico to Lyon and Sebastian Haller to Borussia Dortmund. And after generating close to $220 million in player sales, Ajax seem to have done some brilliant business in the transfer window.
Calvin Bassey has been a revelation in defense, while Steven Bergwijn adds class in attack, the dangerous Brian Brobbey has returned from Leipzig and Lucas Ocampos is a fine addition from Sevilla. This Ajax side has a great blend of youth and experience and they will press Liverpool high up the pitch and force plenty of mistakes. Mexico midfielder Edson Alvarez will perhaps be the next star to leave Ajax and Liverpool would love to have the midfield solidity he brings. Ajax have a perfect record of six wins from six in the Eredivisie and sit top of the table.
Liverpool team news, injuries, lineup options
Before their home game against Wolves was postponed, below is the list of injuries Liverpool had. It seems like Carvalho could return to fitness for this clash, while it will be intriguing to see who Klopp starts in attack with Salah, Nunez and Diaz perhaps worth a try from the start. Andy Robertson is out with a knee injury for a few weeks, so Kostas Tsimikas will start at left back.
OUT: Ibrahima Konate (knee), Jordan Henderson (thigh), Naby Keita (undisclosed), Curtis Jones (calf), Calvin Ramsay (undisclosed), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring) | QUESTIONABLE: Caoimhin Kelleher (groin)
Liverpool vs Ajax: How to watch live, team news, updates originally appeared on NBCSports.com