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Reds Column III

Champions League 2020-21 Preview: AFC Ajax vs Liverpool

The reigning English and World Champions Liverpool Fc will begin their Champions League 2020-21 Campaign as they are due to play against the hosts AFC Ajax in Group D.

Date: 21 October 2020 (Wednesday) ; Time: 8:00 p.m (BST) kick-off ; Venue: Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Last season, Liverpool Fc (The Reds) were knocked out by Atlético Madrid in the Champions League 2019-20 Round of 16 at Anfield. Back then, Adrián deputised for the injured Alisson Becker.

Despite being in the ascendancy for most parts of the game, the game itself was thrown off course as Adrián’s howler in the Extra Half enabled Atlético Madrid to kick-start their comeback in the match and eventually eliminated the Reds.

This time also Alisson remains sidelined and the fallible Spaniard is expected to take over the Goalkeeping Duties until Alisson returns.

Both AFC Ajax and the Reds are clubs with rich history of winning numerous European Trophies. The Reds are 6 Times European Cup/ Champions League Winners and AFC Ajax are 4 times winners of this competition.

Yet both sides have not played against each other since early December 1966.

Back then; making just their second appearance in the European Cup Competition, the Reds were hammered 5-1 by the hosts AFC Ajax (before drawing 2-2 at Anfield).

 

Reds Team Injuries and Suspensions: Alisson Becker continues to be sidelined as the Brazilian recovers from his shoulder injury.

The grim news for the Reds though are the injuries of Virgil Van Dijk and Thiago Alcântara. Both players sustained injuries during the Everton Fc game as the result of the reckless tackles from Jordan Pickford and Richarlison respectively.

The extent of their injuries and how long they will be sidelined is yet to be determined. But the early prognosis for Van Dijk looks far worse as the Dutch might be out injured for the remainder of this season.

This is could then be a hammer blow to the Reds Domestic and European Title aspirations as the Reds would need to play without Van Dijk. Besides being ever present, the towering Dutch has been the bedrock to the Reds defence.

After being contracted with COVID-19, Naby Keïta continues to self-isolate and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain remains sidelined as the Englishman is currently recovering from his knee injury.

 

Verdict: The Reds will have their work cut out as they will have to cop without the injured trio of Alisson, Thiago and Van Dijk for an indeterminate period.

For the moment, the Reds will need to prepare well against the Dutch Champions AFC Ajax. Despite having a relatively young squad, AFC Ajax under Erik Ten Hag are more than capable of beating the Reds.

As such, players like Joël Matip and especially Joe Gomez will need to step up in the absence of Van Dijk.

Jürgen Klopp however will be hoping that Thiago will be not out injured for the Long-term.

 

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