Mo Salah restarts bid to topple Michael Owen in Europe as Liverpool near 250 milestone

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Mohamed Salah can edge closer to becoming Liverpool’s second-highest scorer in Europe as the Reds eye 250 goals in the Champions League.

Mo Salah – has 20 European goals for Liverpool (all in the Champions League), with Mane’s 18 goals also coming in this competition. Roberto Firmino has scored all but one of his 17 goals in Europe for the club in the Champions League.

Firmino could make his 50th European appearance for Liverpool. Has played in 49 of Jurgen Klopp’s 50 European games in charge.

Liverpool’s next goal will be their 250th in the Champions League era in their 141st game.

Salah is the club’s joint third highest scorer in Europe, alongside Ian Rush (also 20). Steven Gerrard tops the list with 41, while Michael Owen has 22.

Salah’s 20 goals in this competition for Liverpool have come in just 35 appearances.

 

A Half a Century Wait

Frank De Boer, Ajax and Liverpool's Jamie Redknapp battle for the ball

Meeting for the first time since 1966/67 when Liverpool lost 7-3 in the European Cup – lost 5-1 in Amsterdam and drew 2-2 at Anfield.

They last met in the Amsterdam Tournament in 2003 playing out a 0-0 draw.

Only three Liverpool players have been signed directly from Ajax and gone on to play for the first team – Jan Molby (1984), Ryan Babel (2007) and Luis Suarez (2011).

Ajax remains the only team ever to score more than four goals against Liverpool in a European game. In 1966 they were 4-0 up at half-time and 5-0 up in the 90th minute before winning 5-1.

 

A Good Omen?

Jurgen Klopp, portrait general image (Paul Ellis/PA Wire/PA Images)

Under Jurgen Klopp the Reds have avoided defeat in seven of 11 away group games, winning four. Last season they won four of six group games – equalling their best tally.

Klopp has won 28 of his 50 Reds games in Europe with 11 draws and 11 wins.

And the boss has faced Ajax before, while with Dortmund. They met in Group D (as they do now) of 2012/13 season. Dortmund won 1-0 at home (Matchday 1) and 4-1 in Amsterdam. They went on to reach the Champions League Final.

 

Dutch Connection

AMSTERDAM - (lr) Dusan Tadic of Ajax, David Neres of Ajax, Davy Klaassen or Ajax celebrate the 2-0 during the Dutch Eredivisie match between Ajax and SC Heerenveen in the Johan Cruijff Arena on October 18, 2020 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. ANP MAURICE VAN STEEN

Ajax have won 34 league titles and the domestic cup 19 times. They have won this competition four times – three successive wins 1971, 1972 and 1973 and also in 1995 when they defeated AC Milan 1-0 in the final.

They were awarded Champions League qualification when the 2019/20 Eredivisie was curtailed, despite them being level on points with Alkmaar, albeit with a superior goal difference.

They have qualified for the group stage for the 16th time but only on six previous occasions have they progressed from the group and only three times from the last 12 attempts.

Former Liverpool player Christian Poulsen is now an assistant coach with the club.

Goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg has played five times against Liverpool (for three different clubs) conceding 15 goals including a Divock Origi hat-trick in a League Cup game in 2015.

Ajax have won four of their five league games this season, beating Heerenveen 5-1 last Sunday – second in the table, one point behind PSV.

 

English Stumbling Block

NYON, SWITZERLAND - Monday, December 17, 2018: Lyon player Laura Georges holds up Ajax after making the draw during the UEFA Champions League 2018/19 Round of 16 draw at the UEFA House of European Football. (Handout by UEFA)

They have won six, drawn two and lost five of 13 home games against English teams.

In total, they have won nine, drawn eight and lost 11 of 28 meetings with only three victories coming in the last 16.

Won just one of last seven home encounters – beating Manchester City 3-1 in the Champions League group stage in 2012/13.

They faced Chelsea last season in the group stage – drawing 4-4 at Stamford Bridge.

 

This Season’s Scorers

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 17, 2020: Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (R) celebrates after scoring the second goal with team-mate Sadio Mané (L) during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 237th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool: Salah 6, Mane 4, Minamino 3, Jones 2, Grujic 1, Jota 1, Origi 1, Robertson 1, Shaqiri 1, Van Dijk 1.

Ajax: Antony 3, Tadic 3, Klaassen 1, Kudus 1, Labyad 1, Martinez 1, Promes 1.


* Statistics courtesy of LFC statistician Ged Rea (@ged0407).

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