As the groups were getting drawn no Liverpool supporter wanted to see Ajax in their group. Not for football reasons but for personal reasons.
Fans cannot go to games and an away trip to Ajax is most likely on every football fans bucket list.
It was supporters’ chance to go and have an amazing trip watching the team they love in one of the finest cities in the world.
Scousers in Amsterdam, a match made in heaven, but it won’t be happening as fans are still not allowed to fill the grounds up.
Across some European some fans are being slowing but surely let back in but for Wednesday the Johan Cruyff arena will be empty unfortunately for the first game back in Europe’s elite competition.
It is a competition which Liverpool did not set alight last season getting knocked out in the round of 16 against Atletico Madrid.
The performance in the second leg at Anfield was a fantastic display yet the team were let down by individual mistakes from goalkeeper Adrian who will be starting in the competition yet again. Alisson is still injured but will be back in the frame much quicker than expected as the Brazilian has already returned to diving sessions with no issues.
So, the limelight will be on Adrian especially with the news of Virgil Van Dijk’s injury meaning there will be more scrutiny on the back line.
As well as Van Dijk’s injury, which will more than likely keep him out for the season, Liverpool will be without another centre back for the Ajax match up. That is Joel Matip who will be crucial for the rest of the campaign but has already suffered another setback when he is needed most.
Therefore, it will most likely be midfielder Fabinho and natural centre half Joe Gomez lining up as a pair.
Fabinho has excelled in the position previously this season but Gomez has not looked like his old self which he will have to change immediately without the presence of “the best centre half in the world” as Klopp called him in his press conference.
Klopp’s reds on the whole played a very good game against Everton and should have got the win and would have got the win it was not for incompetent officials who are hot topics of discussion every week due to their consistency in being woeful.
Nevertheless, the German will be hoping a similar attacking performance will be on show on Wednesday night but he will also be without midfielder Thiago after Richarlison’s horror tackle in the derby, but he should only miss Wednesday’s game
In his press conference before the game Klopp said: “Both challenges were difficult to accept. It’s difficult for us because Virgil is our boy. Usually, players try to play the ball but not in these two challenges.”
Klopp was alongside Gini Wijnaldum for the press conference and the pair were pretty emotional about the injury to Van Dijk and the two nasty tackles in the derby.
But he wanted to try and focus on the opening game of their Champions League group which is a big enough spectacle.
Unfortunately, though for Ajax fans it won’t be the same opposition that reached the Champions League semi-final in 2019.
Nine of the players that were involved in that semi-final have be sold but with Erik Ten Haag at the helm they will always be a threat.
The Dutch side won 5-1 on the weekend against SC Heerenveen showing that they still have their free-flowing attacking style of play meaning that they will still be a threat to a unnatural Liverpool backline.
However of course Liverpool will be a threat themselves as they always are with that famous front three. One of the front three have come under criticism recently though and that is Roberto Firmino.
The Brazilian has not had a shot on target in three league games so far this season and his creativity hasn’t been at his normal best as well. But Klopp always tells the world he is key and fans know that but with the new signing of Diogo Jota Firmino may have to up his game or miss out.
There has been no indication that Firmino will be benched but with so many games in a tight schedule it would not be a surprise but as always everyone will have to wait and see.
Ajax vs Liverpool, two of the biggest sides in Europe for the opening group game.
With no Van Dijk to calm the defence down it should be exciting with a potential return of the heavy-metal football that got Klopp’s team to the 2018 Champions League final
Every Liverpudlian is so fond off it so enjoy it if it’s on show.
Attack is the best form of defence as they say.
Written by Elliot Thompson