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Ajax
Champions League | Group Stage
Oct 26, 2022 at 8pm UK
Amsterdam Arena
Liverpool logo

Ajax
0 - 3
Liverpool

FT(HT: 0-1)
Salah (42'), Nunez (49'), Elliott (52')

Preview: Ajax vs. Liverpool - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Champions League clash between Ajax and Liverpool, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Ajax must beat Liverpool to remain in the Champions League when the two sides meet at the Johann Cruyff Arena on Wednesday.

A point would be good enough to see the Reds progress to the knockout stages with one match to spare, although Jurgen Klopp's side may require a victory if they are to stand a chance of overthrowing Napoli at the top of Group A.


Match preview

Edson Alvarez celebrates scoring for Ajax on September 7, 2022© Reuters

After beating Rangers 4-0 in their opening match in the competition, Ajax appeared to have a decent chance of reaching the knockout stages this season.

However, three successive defeats have left Alfred Schreuder's side six points adrift of their forthcoming opponents Liverpool with two matches remaining, meaning that they must beat the 2018-19 champions and hope that Napoli do the same on the final matchday if they are to progress to the next round.

The reigning Eredivisie champions are at least back on track domestically after dropping five points in two matches either side of the international break, having smashed 15 goals past their opponents in their last three games to open up a four-point gap over PSV Eindhoven at the top of the table.

However, Wednesday's match feels like a huge test for Schreuder as he continues to prove that he is a worthy replacement for Erik ten Hag, having only previously had short spells with FC Twente, Hoffenheim and Club Brugge as a manager.

Beating Liverpool would undoubtedly be the club's most significant result since being a matter of seconds away from facing Klopp's side in the 2019 final before Lucas Moura's last-gasp winner sent Tottenham Hotspur through at their expense, and on current form there is no reason for the Dutch side to have any fear heading into the encounter.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp pictured on October 22, 2022© Reuters

Indeed, Liverpool looked to have turned a corner having beaten Manchester City and West Ham both 1-0 in the past week, but they succumbed by the reverse scoreline at the expense of a rejuvenated Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on Saturday.

Steve Cooper's side sat deep and narrow, continually forcing their more illustrious opponents into wide areas, with Liverpool's offensive threat significantly reduced by the absences of Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and Darwin Nunez due to injury.

Perhaps more worrying for Klopp is his side's continual allowance of high quality chances for their opponents. While Alisson Becker is far from being one of the busiest goalkeepers in the Premier League, the stats show that the average quality of chance which he faces is higher than any of his counterparts in the division this season.

Any outside hopes of cutting the significant points gap down to Arsenal and Manchester City at the top of the table are now surely gone, placing even more emphasis on the Reds' progression in Europe. As such, Wednesday's trip to Amsterdam is a huge one for Liverpool, too, as they will not want to face Serie A leaders Napoli on the final matchday with their progression to the knockout stages still riding on that match.

Klopp's side were arguably in even worse form before beating Ajax 2-1 last month, though, so the 55-year-old will feel confident of at least avoiding defeat in midweek despite suffering a significant domestic setback.

Ajax Champions League form:


Ajax form (all competitions):


Liverpool Champions League form:


Liverpool form (all competitions):



Team News

Diogo Jota goes down injured for Liverpool on October 16, 2022© Reuters

Ajax will be without youngsters Ahmetcan Kaplan, Devyne Rensch and Mohamed Ihattaren due to injuries, while midfielder Kenneth Taylor is doubtful due to a muscle strain.

Despite bagging a brace in his side's 4-1 victory away to RKC Waalwijk at the weekend, Brian Brobbey is likely to make way for Mohammed Kudus in attack, with the Ghana forward potentially full of confidence after scoring a superb equaliser at Anfield last month.

Liverpool, meanwhile, will travel without Diaz, Jota and Joel Matip due to injuries, but they could welcome back Nunez, Thiago Alcantara and Ibrahima Konate to their matchday squad.

Nunez is likely to come into the starting XI having returned to training, while Konate may replace Joe Gomez alongside Virgil van Dijk depending on the assessment of his recent strain.

However, Thiago Alcantara will miss out again after failing to recover from an ear infection he picked up last week.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita have both resumed training after long-term muscle injuries, but neither were included in the Reds' Champions League squad as the midfield duo were not expected to be ready in time to make a significant contribution at the group stage.

Ajax possible starting lineup:
Pasveer; Sanchez, Timber, Bassey, Blind; Klaassen, Alvarez, Berghuis; Tadic, Kudus, Bergwijn

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho; Elliott, Firmino, Nunez; Salah


SM words green background

We say: Ajax 1-2 Liverpool

We expect a fiercely competitive game on Wednesday, with both teams needing a positive result to boost their chances of progressing to the knockout stages.

Given that a draw is essentially of little use to Ajax, Schreuder will almost certainly go all out for the win, potentially playing into Liverpool's hands in transition.


For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.




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Game History

How you voted: Ajax vs Liverpool

Ajax
27.2%
Draw
13.9%
Liverpool
59.0%
563
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Group A

TeamPWDLPTS
QBayern651016
QCopenhagen62228
3Galatasaray61235
4Man Utd61144

Group B

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QArsenal641113
QPSV62319
3Lens62228
4Sevilla60242

Group C

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QReal Madrid660018
QNapoli631210
3Braga61144
4Union Berlin60242

Group D

TeamPWDLPTS
QReal Sociedad633012
QInter Milan633012
3Benfica61144
4Salzburg61144

Group E

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QAtletico642014
QLazio631210
3Feyenoord62046
4Celtic61144

Group F

TeamPWDLPTS
QDortmund632111
QPSG62228
3AC Milan62228
4Newcastle61235

Group G

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QMan City660018
QRB Leipzig640212
3Young Boys61144
4Red Star60151

Group H

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QBarcelona640212
QPorto640212
3Shakhtar63039
4Antwerp61053


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