Reds rotation & a routine Champions League night? – Liverpool vs. Midtjylland Preview

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Liverpool host FC Midtjylland in the Champions League on Tuesday night, in what should arguably be the Reds’ easiest assignment of the group stage.

Liverpool vs. FC Midtjylland

Tuesday, October 27, 2020 – 8pm (GMT)
Anfield
Champions League Group Stage (2)
Referee: Pawel Raczkowski (POL)

After the frustration that occurred against Everton over a week ago now, Jurgen Klopp‘s men have bounced back impressively.

Their Champions League win at Ajax was followed up by a 2-1 victory at home to Sheffield United in the Premier League, sealing back-to-back triumphs.

Liverpool find themselves in the middle of a relentless run of fixtures and there is no sign of it slowing down this week.

Next up is the midweek visit of Midtjylland, as the Reds aim to further boost their hopes of reaching the last-16 of Europe’s top competition.

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS - Wednesday, October 21, 2020: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp reacts during the opening UEFA Champions League Group D match between AFC Ajax and Liverpool FC at the Johan Cruijff ArenA. (Pic by Gerrit van Keulen/Orange Pictures via Propaganda)

In truth, the Danish side are one of the less-fashionable or known quantities in the Champions League this season, but Liverpool must not take their foot off the gas.

A 3-2 win away to Brondby at the weekend is proof that they can be a handful, and with changes potentially made by Klopp, the Reds could come unstuck if they are not careful.

It is a case of being ruthless and getting the job done, prior to focus turning to the weekend visit of West Ham.

Anfield’s first European game of 2020/21 will come in surreal circumstances, with no crowd to be seen, but yet another win is to be expected from this magnificent team.


Team News

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 17, 2020: Liverpool’s Thiago Alcantara 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. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool are still plagued by injury problems, meaning rotation is no easy thing for Klopp currently.

Virgil van Dijk is likely out for the season with cruciate ligament damage and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain‘s return is still nowhere in sight.

The Reds are also without Joel Matip, Thiago and Naby Keita, all of whom missed out at the weekend and are not yet ready to feature.

The hope is that Thiago will be back against West Ham, however, having been treated in precautionary fashion since being on the end of an awful tackle by Richarlison.

Matip’s absence means Fabinho and Joe Gomez will continue together at centre-back, with signs of a good partnership developing.

Neco Williams is an option if Klopp feels the need to rest Trent Alexander-Arnold, but no Kostas Tsimikas means Andy Robertson is expected to start.

In midfield, James Milner and Curtis Jones are options, with both featuring prominently against Ajax last week. Jordan Henderson or Gini Wijnaldum could earn a rest.

Xherdan Shaqiri, Diogo Jota and Takumi Minamino are all good alternatives if one or more of Liverpool’s front three are rested – if not all of them.

 

The Opposition

GENEVE, SWITZERLAND - OCTOBER 1: during the UEFA Champions League 2020/21 Group Stage Draw at RTS Studios on October 1, 2020, in Geneve, Switzerland (Photo by Harold Cunningham - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Even the most ardent football fan would struggle to be an expert on Midtjylland, but they are a successful side in their own right.

Managed by talented young boss Brian Priske, they are the reigning Danish Superliga champions, also winning the title in 2014/15 and 2017/18. They also won the Danish Cup for the first time last year.

Like Liverpool, Midtjylland have accumulated 13 points from their opening six matches, sitting second in the table level with leaders SonderjyskE.

Priske’s side opened their Champions League account with a 4-0 defeat at home to the dangerous Atalanta, although the result was an unfair reflection on the game, as Klopp alluded to on Monday.

This will be the first-ever meeting between Liverpool and Midtjylland.

 

Did You Know?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, March 11, 2020: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp waves goodbye to the Champions League after the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 2nd Leg match between Liverpool FC and Club Atlético de Madrid at Anfield. Club Atlético de Madrid won 3-2 (4-2 on aggregate). (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool haven’t lost back-to-back European home games since the 2009/10 season, when Lyon and Fiorentina both earned 2-1 wins at Anfield.

That is an incredible run of 45 matches stretching across both the Champions League and Europa League, summing up how tough Anfield is to visit.

The Reds did lose their last European match at home, however, with Atletico Madrid earning a 3-2 victory after extra-time back in March.

Even then, Klopp’s men didn’t lose in 90 minutes!

 

Form

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 24, 2020: Liverpool’s Diogo Jota celebrates with team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold after scoring the second goal to give his side a 2-1 lead during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Sheffield United FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 2-1 vs. Sheffield United
Won 1-0 vs. Ajax
Drew 2-2 vs. Everton
Lost 7-2 vs. Aston Villa
Drew 0-0 vs. Arsenal (lost 5-4 on penalties)

Midtjylland – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 3-2 vs. Brondby
Lost 4-0 vs. Atalanta
Won 3-1 vs. OB
Drew 2-2 vs. Horsens
Won 4-1 vs. Slavia Praha

 

Klopp’s View

Speaking in his press conference on Monday, Klopp stressed the importance of not taking Midtjylland lightly at Anfield:

“Since yesterday I know a lot [about them]. Before that, I know the story of the club, the things they tried with science in a different way, it’s a very interesting project.

“Yesterday I saw plenty of games and summaries and now I’m in the picture.

“The Atalanta game did not look like a 4-0, the possession [was] pretty level, they are [tactically] flexible as well so it’s a challenge and we have to be ready.”

 

TV & Liveblog Info

Liverpool vs. Midtjylland will be shown live in the UK on BT Sport 3, with coverage getting underway at 7.15pm (GMT). Kickoff is at 8pm.

Chris Williams is in charge of This Is Anfield’s matchday liveblog, keeping you up to date with the action from 7.15pm (GMT).

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