Following that dreadful defeat to Nottingham Forest, Liverpool travel to Ajax in a bid to secure qualification for the Champions League Round of 16. Avoid defeat in Amsterdam tomorrow and it’s job done. Here’s a preview of the game.

It was a poor display last time out for the Reds, with several key players reverting back to the woeful form we’ve been subjected to for most of this campaign. Back to back victories over Manchester City and West Ham were supposed to be a turning point but it’s proven to be another false dawn in this frustrating season.

Injuries certainly haven’t helped, with up to half of what we could call Jürgen Klopp’s best XI unavailable due to injury. Matip, Thiago, Diaz, Jota and Darwin Nunez were all absent on Saturday, whilst Alexander-Arnold and Henderson were not introduced till after the hour mark.

What ensued was a turgid afternoon of football, with little to no inspiration. The few chances that were created in open play were spurned, with the most glaring openings coming from set pieces. If ever a game called out for a set piece goal, this was it.

As it turned out, Awoniyi capitalised on a set piece, after Firmino and Van Dijk especially had pilfered their own opportunities away. The manager exacerbated the injury woes by resting his most creative outlet and the skipper.

The Reds are struggling badly and look in dire need of the World Cup break. Six games remain till then though, and they have to navigate these to ensure there is something to play for when the season resumes on Boxing Day.

Tomorrow night is a chance to do just that by securing progress to the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League. A point will be enough on the night but Klopp never sets his side up to look for a draw. With a few key players returning, he will set out to win.

Ajax meanwhile are aware that only victory will keep their qualification hopes alive. The Dutch champions held firm for 90 minutes at Anfield till a stoppage time Joel Matip winner broke their resolve. Since then, they’ve been battered over two legs by Napoli.

A quite staggering 6-1 home thrashing at the hands of the Neopolitans was followed up with a 4-2 defeat at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. This has left Ajax 6 points adrift of the Reds, with only two fixtures remaining.

They have won each of their last three league games by an aggregate score of 15-4, seeing them go four points clear at the top of the table. They have a number of attacking weapons they will hope to let loose in Brian Brobbey, Mohamed Kudus, Steven Bergwijn, Steven Berghuis etc.

Alfred Schreuder set them up to be compact at Anfield and it almost paid off. He can’t afford to be as pragmatic tomorrow night as the onus is on Ajax to carry the fight to Liverpool infront of their home supporters.

Such an open game could be just what the Reds need, as they will find space to thrive in going forward. If they can summon the energy and intensity they displayed against City last week, they should be alright.

Anything less than that and they will be left staring at requiring a result heading into the final matchday. We’ve had that scenario before with Napoli (we all remember that iconic Alisson save) but it would be best to wrap things up tomorrow night and rest a few for that last game.

Team News

Joel Matip, Arthur Melo, Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota remain out. Thiago was not pictured training with the team today and is expected to miss out once again. The Spaniard was ruled out against Forest with an ear infection.

Calvin Ramsay could be included in the matchday squad after two cameos for the U21s. Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are both in training but neither are eligible having been left out of the club’s Champions League squad.

In better news, Ibrahima Konaté and Darwin Nunez are back in training. Konaté has been out with a muscle injury since victory at Ibrox, whilst Darwin was left out at the weekend as a precaution. It’s a welcome boost.

It’s a fully fit squad for Alfred Schreuder, with only youngster Ahmetcan Kaplan (knee injury) unavailable.



  1. It’ll be a tough game no doubt and with our current form, I’m braced for impact.
    The good news having Konate and Darwin back in the squad hopefully they are good to go. We’ll need each department to be at their best.

    Liked by 1 person

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