AJAX VS LIVERPOOL: PREDICTED LINEUP
Liverpool are in action tonight when they take on Dutch champions Ajax at the Johan Cruyff Arena (19:00 GMT). The Reds require just a point to book their place in the round of 16. Here’s how we expect Jürgen Klopp to line up his side for the encounter.
For a match preview, you can head over here.
It was an intense period last week, with Manchester City, West Ham and then Nottingham Forest the opponents across the span of six or so days. Injuries didn’t help, with the manager’s hands being tied away to Forest especially.
Thankfully, one or two have returned to full fitness ahead of the clash tonight. Darwin Nunez is now completely fit after a tight hamstring complaint whilst Ibrahima Konaté is ready for “some minutes” following a spell out after his first start of the campaign at Rangers.
In goal will be Alisson Becker. The Brazilian shot stopper has been the most consistent player for Liverpool thus far and will have to be at his best again if the Reds are to get the result they need in the face of what is expected to be an Ajax onslaught.
In the backline, Alexander-Arnold should return after being restricted to a half hour cameo on Saturday. Gomez will once again get the nod at centre half, with Konaté not ready to play 90 minutes. Ibou will likely get a late cameo under his belt.
Van Dijk and Robertson should complete the backline. The big man is the only one to have featured in every single minute for Liverpool this season, with that record set to continue tonight. Robbo meanwhile got a rest against West Ham last week and should be fine to go again.
In the engine room, the manager is once again without his best option as Thiago misses a second game due to an ear infection. His replacement last time out, Curtis Jones, showed tremendous levels of fitness to last the whole ninety so soon after recovering from injury.
The youngster could be called upon again tonight, but this time on the left flank. Carvalho struggled in that role on Saturday and shouldn’t really be expected to carry that weight and expectation on his young shoulders.
The skipper is set for a return to the XI after being limited to a cameo at the weekend. He will likely partner Fabinho in the double pivot. The Brazilian has been way off the levels he’s set in previous years but there’s no other alternative.
Milner at 36 just doesn’t cut it in midfield anymore, whilst Keita and Ox were left out of the Champions League squad due to injury. With no reinforcements in midfield despite the glaring need for it (an injury prone Arthur on deadline day doesn’t count), Klopp can have no complaints.
On the right flank, Harvey Elliott will get another go. He was the only one who looked capable of creating a chance in open play against Forest and has been one of the bright spots of this campaign. His inclusion also allows Salah to play through the middle.
Darwin Nunez’s return to fitness should see him line up alongside the Egyptian up top. Roberto Firmino has started each of the last four and looked jaded on Saturday. It could be his turn to be rested, with a second half cameo the sensible option.
Bobby should then provide a decent option off the bench, along with Carvalho, Millie, Ibou and Kostas. Tonight will be a tough test. We will find out if the Reds are up to the task.
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Elliott, Jones, Salah, Darwin.
Subs: Kelleher, Adrian, Konaté, Tsimikas, Phillips, Milner, Bajcetic, Clark, Carvalho, Firmino.