Liverpool head to Amsterdam this evening to play Ajax for matchday one of their 2020/21 Champions League campaign.
The two sides will go head to head with a total of 10 European trophies between the two of them. With the two sides steeped in European history, this could be the most entertaining game of the opening round.
A new chapter in our #UCL history… 💫
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 21, 2020
Both sides come into this game with solid form in their domestic league. Ajax come into this with four wins and one defeat whilst Liverpool have three wins, one defeat and one draw.
However, domestic form goes out the window when playing in European competitions with many sides in recent years who have struggled domestically going deep into the competition.
There will be many decisive battles in this evening’s game but which battles will be the most important to win?
Ajax’s attack vs Liverpool’s defence
This battle could define the result of the game this evening. The reason for this being the hole left by the injury to Virgil Van Dijk last Saturday. Fellow centre back Joel Matip will also miss the game after an injury in the same game. That leaves only Fabinho as the only other senior player to partner Joe Gomez.
The Ajax front line has scored 11 goals in their first five games in the league and only failed to score in one. Former Southampton midfielder Dusan Tadic could have a huge say in this game after contributing three goals and two assists in those five games.
The pace of David Neres and Quincy Promes would cause that makeshift centre back pairing problems should they both start.
Andre Onana vs Adrian
The Ajax fans will be looking to their number one for inspiration for this game. The Cameroon international is one of the players who decided to stay at the club following their run to the semi-final two years go.
After a disappointing campaign last year in this competition, he will be looking to bounce back. He has conceded four goals in five games so far keeping just one clean sheet, that form leaves nothing to be desired.
The Spaniard Adrian is going through a bad time at the moment for Liverpool. High profile errors against Aston Villa, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid have seen the goalkeeper lose his confidence.
There is a feeling that anything can happen when he is between the sticks. This will breathe confidence into the Ajax players especially Tadic who can score from anywhere outside the box. If Liverpool are to get anything tonight, Adrian needs a mistake-free game.
Ajax’s centre-halves vs Mane, Salah and Firmino
Anyone looking at Daley Blind and Perr Schuurs knows that the two defenders lack pace and the Liverpool front three will be licking their lips at the prospect of stretching the slow pairing.
The Dutchman Blind is now 30 years old with his pace seeming to disappear season on season.
If the front three of Liverpool can get Firmino to drop deep to play, passes around the side and get Mane and Salah to make runs through the middle, then the two centre-halves could be chasing shadows all night.
Ajax: Onana; Mazraoui, Schuurs, Blind, Tagliafico; Gravenberch, Alvarez; Neres, Kudus, Tadic; Labyad.
Liverpool: Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Fabinho, Robertson; Milner, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Salah.