Liverpool begin their Champions League campaign with a trip to Amsterdam to play Ajax on Wednesday night.
It is not an easy start to the competition for the 2019 champions, who are reeling from the injury to key defender Virgil van Dijk in Saturday’s 2-2 Premier League draw with rivals Everton.
Van Dijk is set for a long spell on the sidelines after Liverpool confirmed on Sunday that the 29-year-old would require surgery on a knee ligament injury caused by Jordan Pickford’s reckless challenge in the Merseyside derby.
The Dutchman’s anterior cruciate ligament injury is a serious blow for Jurgen Klopp, who is also without first-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker, who has a shoulder injury.
Ajax may have sold Donny van de Beek, Hakim Ziyech, Sergino Dest and Joel Veltman over the summer transfer window, but Erik ten Hag’s side remain a dangerous opponent, especially after their confidence-boosting 5-1 thrashing of Heerenveen on Sunday.
Ajax vs Liverpool odds with William Hill:
- Ajax: 15/4
- Draw: 16/5
- Liverpool: 4/6
*You have to be 18+ to gamble. All odds and offers within this article are accurate at the time of publication (18:15, 20/10/2020). BeGambleAware.
1. Ajax predicted line-up
2. Liverpool predicted line-up
3. Dusan Tadic set to do damage
The Ajax team that stunned Real Madrid and Juventus to reach the Champions League semi-finals in the 2018/19 season has largely been picked apart.
However, while Van de Beek, Ziyech, Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt have all moved on in high-profile transfers to some of Europe’s biggest clubs, one man who was central to their success has stayed put.
Ajax have bolstered their ranks with the exciting signings of young talents like Brazilian winger Anthony and Ghana’s international attacking midfielder Mohammed Kudus, but there is no doubt who remains central to their attack.
Dusan Tadic has been exceptional since joining Ajax from Southampton in June 2018, providing the creative link between midfield and attack through his intelligent movement and excellent left foot.
The Serbian playmaker has started the season in fine form, picking up three goals and two assists in five Eredivisie games so far.
With Liverpool missing Van Dijk, Alisson and potentially Thiago, who was on the receiving end of a heavy challenge by Richarlison on Saturday, Tadic may well hold the key for Ajax.
Ajax vs Liverpool match result and both teams to score (via William Hill):
- Ajax: 11/2
- Draw: 10/3
- Liverpool: 6/4
4. A score draw
Ajax have the creativity and confidence to hurt Liverpool, who have conceded 13 goals in five Premier League games – albeit seven of those came in one flurry against Aston Villa – and the loss of some key defensive figures will surely be felt in Amsterdam.
But while Liverpool’s defence is significantly weaker due to injury, the same cannot be said of the other end of the pitch where Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino will certainly be confident of getting at Ajax’s back line.
The game promises goals at both ends, so don’t be surprised to see Adrian and Andre Onana forced to pick the ball out of their net more than once.