10 key things to know ahead of Ajax vs. Liverpool

Liverpool head to Amsterdam on Wednesday night looking for early passage through to the Champions League‘s last 16. Here’s all you need to know.

Ajax vs. Liverpool

Champions League Group Stage (5) | Johan Cruyff ArenA
October 26, 2022 | 8pm (BST)


After frustration in Nottingham, Liverpool will look to get back on track and take a big step forward in Europe as they visit Ajax.

Here are 10 key things to know as the Reds push for the last 16.

 

1. Back to Amsterdam

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS - Wednesday, October 21, 2020: Liverpool's Joe Gomez (L) and Ajax's David Neres 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)

Wednesday’s clash takes place at the Johan Cruyff ArenA, renamed from the Amsterdam ArenA in 2018, in tribute to the late Dutch legend.

Liverpool have only played Ajax once at the stadium in a competitive game, that being a behind-closed-doors 1-0 win in the Champions League group stage in the pandemic season of 2020/21.

Fabinho partnered Joe Gomez in defence that night, with the tie decided by an own goal from Nicolas Tagliafico.

There have been two friendly meetings between the two sides in Amsterdam, too, with a 3-1 defeat in 2001 and a 0-0 draw two years later.

Oh, and there was also the absolutely wild 6-a-side mid-season tournament in 1997, read all about that here!

 

2. What Liverpool need to qualify

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - Wednesday, October 12, 2022: Liverpool players line-up before the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 4 game between Glasgow Rangers FC and Liverpool FC at Ibrox Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is pretty simple for Liverpool this time around: get at least a point, and they are through to the last 16.

Defeat would mean they could need a result when they host Group A leaders Napoli on November 1, though they head into Wednesday’s clash already six points clear of Ajax.

 

3. Ajax are in hit-and-miss form

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, September 13, 2022: AFC Ajax's head coach Alfred Schreuder during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 2 game between Liverpool FC and AFC Ajax at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After a 3-1 victory over RKC Waalwijk on Saturday, Ajax hold a four-point lead at the top of the Eredivisie, on a run of three consecutive league wins.

However, they have lost three out of four games in the Champions League, scoring eight goals and conceding 12, while they are without a clean sheet in the last eight in all competitions.

Ajax have shipped 19 goals in that time, including 10 over two games against Napoli and two in defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.

 

4. Three return to training…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, October 25, 2022: Liverpool's Naby Keita during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 5 game between AFC Ajax and Liverpool FC. (Pic by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

Tuesday brought the good news that Darwin Nunez is back following a tight hamstring, with the No. 27 in contention to start.

Joining him in training were Naby Keita and Ibrahima Konate, with the pair resuming full training following their respective injury issues the previous day.

 

5 …but Thiago is still out

NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, September 7, 2022: Liverpool's Thiago Alcântara feels the pitch before the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 1 game between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Absent, though, was Thiago, with the Spaniard not pictured with the squad after having been taken to hospital with an ear infection on Saturday morning.

It is almost certain that Thiago will miss out, along with Luis Diaz, Joel Matip, Diogo Jota and Arthur, while both Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are ineligible for the group stage.

 

6. Expect more changes

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 22, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the FA Premier League match between Nottingham Forest FC and Liverpool FC at the City Ground. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is a difficult balancing act for Jurgen Klopp at this stage, but with a game every three days on average ahead of a break for the World Cup, rotation is necessary.

Of late, the manager has opted for five changes between games, and that could well be the case on Wednesday night, particularly given the relative lack of jeopardy in Group A.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jordan Henderson are likely to come in along with Nunez, while the likes of Kostas Tsimikas and perhaps even Konate could be options, too.

 

7. Milestone for Ali

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, October 19, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (R) embraces goalkeeper Alisson Becker after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Wednesday will bring a landmark night for Alisson, who is set to make his 200th appearance for Liverpool in all competitions.

Only nine goalkeepers have played more times for the club, including Simon Mignolet (204), David James (276), Tommy Lawrence (390), Pepe Reina (394), Elisha Scott (468), Bruce Grobbelaar (628) and Ray Clemence (665).

That list is reduced to six when it comes to the most clean sheets in Liverpool’s history, with Alisson‘s 89 to date only bettered by James (102), Lawrence (133), Scott (137), Reina (177), Grobbelaar (267) and Clemence (323).

In terms of the percentage of clean sheets per start, Alisson (44.72%) is behind only Reina (44.92%) and Clemence (48.57%).

 

8. Did you know?

2K69CMB Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring their side's fifth goal of the game during the UEFA Champions League Group A match at the Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow. Picture date: Wednesday October 12, 2022.

Mohamed Salah is only two goals off Steven Gerrard’s all-time European goalscoring record, with 39 to the legendary midfielder’s 41.

The Egyptian is already Liverpool’s leading scorer in the Champions League, having surpassed Gerrard’s tally last season, but could cement himself at the top of the overall pile this season.

Another hat-trick for Mo?

 

9. The referee

There will be a first-time referee for Liverpool on Wednesday, with Spanish official Jose Maria Sanchez taking charge of his first Reds game.

He has, however, been in charge of an Ajax game in the past, that being a 5-1 thrashing of Sporting CP in last season’s Champions League.

 

10. How to watch and follow the game!

NYON, SWITZERLAND - AUGUST 2: A view of the UEFA Champions League 2022/23 Group Stage match ball during the UEFA Club Competitions 2022/23 Match Balls Shoot at the UEFA Headquarters, The House of the European Football, on August 2, 2022, in Nyon, Switzerland. (Photo by UEFA). General. Ball

Ajax vs. Liverpool is being shown live on BT Sport 2 in the UK, which is available to live stream here.

Kickoff is at 8pm BST, with coverage starting at 7pm.

This Is Anfield will be providing live updates, reaction and analysis throughout, with Sam Millne keeping you informed and entertained from 7.15pm.