Ajax host Liverpool on Wednesday night at Johan Cruijff Arena. The Reds won the reverse fixture 2-1 at home and are close to securing qualification, even if their Premier League season has stuttered of late. Ajax conceded 10 goals across matchdays three and four to Napoli and have lost four times in their last eight matches in all competitions.
After losing 2-1 at Anfield in September, Ajax went and lost 2-1 at AZ Alkmaar in the Eredivisie and could only draw 1-1 at home to Go Ahead Eagles. A shocking 6-1 home loss to Napoli came next in the Champions League as they were outclassed throughout.
The side won 4-2 at Volendam prior to facing Napoli in Italy, where they were beaten 4-2. The Dutch giants have restored some confidence since those humiliating defeats to the Partenopei by thrashing Excelsior 7-1 at home before cruising to a 4-1 win at RKC Waalwijk with three second half goals.
Ajax Team News
Coach Alfred Schreuder has a few injuries for this match. Mohamed Ihattaren and Ahmetcan Kaplan remain sidelined whilst starting central midfielder Kenneth Taylor is absent with a knock.
Daley Blind and Edson Alvarez both got taken off at half-time over the weekend to keep them fresh for this clash. Brian Brobbey is set to lead the line after some strong form of late (five goals in four matches) in preference to Mohammed Kudus.
Ajax will play to win this match and keep any faint hopes of progressing to the knockout rounds alive. They will take the game to Liverpool as they did at Anfield where they played really well.
Their early substitutions of a couple of key players against RKC Waalwijk showed that this match holds full focus and is their highest priority. Ajax will also want to ensure they finish above Rangers in the third spot and make it into the Europa League.
The Reds don’t look their true selves this season, even if they have had a lot of injuries to navigate. Many teams appear to be creating clear chances against them over recent weeks. After the 4-1 destruction away to Napoli, they also dropped points at home to Brighton in a 3-3 draw and lost 3-2 at Arsenal soon after as their poor defending continued.
They looked more like themselves after that, but only in terms of results as Rangers were thumped 7-1 on matchday four, prior to grinding out two wins, 1-0 at home to Man City and 1-0 against West Ham at Anfield as the visitors missed a penalty. In their last fixture, they lost to bottom-placed Nottm Forest.
Liverpool Team News
Klopp has plenty of injuries to deal with, as had been the case all season. Joel Matip is out and Ibrahima Konate is not yet ready to return. Diogo Jota is out long-term and so is Luis Diaz whilst Darwin Nunez is touch-and-go with a thigh problem. Thiago Alcantara should return to midfield after an ear infection.
Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold were only subs at Nottm Forest but should start this one. Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah will play up front with Harvey Elliot or Fabio Carvalho completing the attacking areas.
The Reds know a point will secure them qualification whilst a defeat may even be enough because of their impressive goal difference.
Nevertheless, Klopp’s team need a win desperately and will play for one from the start as they look to get their season going in the right direction.
Ajax have lost their last 3 matches against Liverpool
Ajax have lost 4 of their last 8 matches (all comps)
Ajax have lost their last 3 UCL matches, conceding 12 goals
Liverpool have lost 4 of their last 7 away matches (all comps)
Liverpool have won 8 of their last 9 away CL matches (excludes neutral venues)
Liverpool have scored 26 goals in their last 6 away CL matches
This match looks set to have goals to enjoy. Liverpool’s defence looks leaky and Ajax are conceding goals for fun in the Champions League. The Reds should get a fourth win against the Dutch giants, though, even in Amsterdam.
Best Bet: Liverpool win at 1.90
Value Bet: Liverpool win and Both to Score at 3.00
Alternative Bet: Liverpool win and Salah anytime scorer at 3.21
Multiplier Leg: Liverpool Win/Draw double chance + over 2.5 goals at 2.00