Ajax and Liverpool meet competitively for the first time since December 1966 when they face off in Amsterdam on Wednesday evening (8pm kick-off).
Ajax XI: Onana; Mazraoui, Schuurs, Blind, Tagliafico; Klaassen, Kudus, Martínez; Gravenberch, Tadic, Neres
Liverpool XI: Adrián; Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Gomez, Robertson; Milner, Jones, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Curtis Jones starts in midfield for Liverpool, who are forced to field Fabinho in central defence due to the absences of both Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip.
Where to watch Ajax vs Liverpool on TV:
- UK: BT Sport 2
- US: CBS All Access
Where to live stream Ajax vs Liverpool:
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Ajax vs Liverpool build-up, pre-match team news & previous line-ups:
Jurgen Klopp’s side are looking to reach a third Champions League final in four seasons when they kick-start their campaign in the Dutch capital.
As for the Amsterdammers, there’s quiet confidence in replicating their historic semi-final run two years ago; Liverpool were preparing to face them in the final, before late drama against Spurs at the Johan Cruyff Arena.
It’s a much-changed Ajax team but, as Klopp and others have reiterated, their philosophy remains unchanged. So, can Erik ten Hag’s men cause another seismic shock or will the Reds’ irresistible attack prove too much on the night?
- Ajax (vs Heerenveen): Onana; Mazraoui, Schuurs, Blind, Tagliafico; Klaassen, Gravenberch, Kudus; Neres, Traoré, Tadic.
- Liverpool (vs Everton): Adrián; Alexander-Arnold, Matip*, Van Dijk*, Robertson; Fabinho, Thiago*, Henderson; Salah, Firmino, Mané.
Jurrien Timber and Antony are both unavailable to Erik ten Hag ahead of Liverpool’s visit with right-back Noussair Mazraoui expected to start after going off in Ajax’s league win over Heerenveen several days before Liverpool’s visit.
The six-time European champions were handed a major injury blow when it was revealed influential central defender Virgil van Dijk needs to undergo surgery on a knee injury sustained in the Merseyside derby. Joel Matip and big summer recruit Thiago are major doubts.
Players to watch:
Ajax: The side Jürgen Klopp and his charges will face on Wednesday evening is a radically-changed team from the one which came seconds away from meeting Liverpool in the 2019 Champions League final. For one, they possess a completely new midfield, but four of their back-five remains the same and manager Ten Hag can still call upon skipper and mercurial forward Dusan Tadic who is expected to lead Ajax’s front line. Since relocating from Southampton the Serbian international has reinvented himself as a “false nine” whilst enjoying the glitz and glamour of Champions League football scoring six goals across 18 outings, including against the likes of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, and creating seven more for his teammates.
Liverpool: Major injuries to key players have been few and far between for Liverpool during their recent period of success. Van Dijk, who at one point was the world’s most expensive defender, has seldom missed any minutes since joining the club so these upcoming months will be new territory for everyone involved. With doubts over Matip there’s a possibility of midfielder Fabinho may drop back to line up alongside Joe Gomez and the Brazilian will no doubt be expected to keep track of Ajax’s most dangerous player Tadic.
Scoreline prediction: Ajax 1-2 Liverpool
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