Liverpool v Ajax predicted XIs: Team news as the Reds seek to “reinvent” themselves
Liverpool will be looking to get their Champions League campaign underway when they host Ajax on Tuesday at 8pm (UK time).
Jurgen Klopp’s men suffered a 4-1 loss on matchday one against Napoli, their joint-heaviest Champions League defeat. The Reds have never previously begun a Champions League campaign with two defeats before. On top of that, Liverpool have only lost their first home match in two of their previous 46 major European campaigns (which includes 35 wins and nine draws), losing 1-0 to Marseille in 2007/08 in the Champions League and 3-2 to Udinese in the 2012/13 Uefa Europa League.
As for Ajax, they have won their last seven Champions League group stage matches, scoring 24 goals and conceding just five. Only Bayern Munich (eight) are on a longer current run of group stage victories than the Amsterdammers. Against Rangers last time out, a match that saw Alfred Schreuder’s side run out 4-0 winners, the average starting distance of Ajax’s sequences of play was 52.7 metres from their own goal – the highest up the field of any team on matchday one, highlighting the aggressive pressure that the Dutch side put their opponents under.
Liverpool team news vs Ajax:
- Out: Curtis Jones, Calvin Ramsay, Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita, Ibrahima Konaté, Caoimhin Kelleher and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Klopp, who is missing a handful of players through injury, could make some changes. Darwin Núñez, Diogo Jota and Thiago are pushing for starts while Joel Matip may come in for Joe Gomez who struggled against Napoli’s attack. Whoever starts, the German tactician is expecting an improved performance.
“You don’t think a lot after the game, you react more,” he said after the Napoli loss.
“We have to kind of reinvent ourselves because basic things were not there. It’s a difficult period, no doubt about that. If you’re not playing exceptionally well, you still can defend on a really high level. We should be able to do that.
“The start of the game doesn’t help. If we want to defend better and concede a penalty after three minutes and the next one, obviously you cannot exactly do that. Tonight we were caught in-between. But, still, it’s the job to do. That’s what I mean. It’s not that we have to reinvent a new kind of football.
“You always try to improve but in this moment obviously everybody would be happy if we could just play similar stuff to what we used to play. Tonight was the least compact performance I saw for a long, long time from us… and other teams as well.
“Napoli was really good but we made it easy for them because we lost the ball in areas and then the next situation was a counter-attack. No, that’s not how it should be. A few things are really clear, we have to change that, and the reason why it’s now like this is getting a bit more clearer as well.
“But I need time for just saying the right things because at the moment it’s not 100 per cent clear.”
Predicted Liverpool XI vs Ajax:
- (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Matip, Robertson; Fabinho, Thiago, Milner; Salah, Nunez, Diaz.
Ajax team news vs Liverpool:
- Out: Owen Wijndal
Mohammed Kudus has four goals and an assist in his last three appearances and could retain his spot at Brian Brobbey’s expense. Head coach Alfred Schreuder shouldn’t make too many changes from their impressive 4-0 win over Rangers as he seeks to end the Amsterdammers’ disappointing run against Premier League opposition. De Godenzonen come into matchday two on the back of failing to win their last five Champions League games against English opponents (one draw and four losses). On top of that, they’re looking for their first win over Liverpool since December 1966, beating them 5-1 in the European Cup.
Predicted Ajax XI vs Liverpool:
- (4-3-3): Pasveer; Rensch, Timber, Bassey, Blind; Álvarez, Berghuis, Taylor; Tadic, Kudus, Bergwijn.