The Champions League group stage is drawing to a close and tonight’s encounter is the last-chance-saloon for four-time European champions Ajax. They play host to second-placed Liverpool, from whom they sit six points adrift. To have any chance of qualifying, Ajax must beat the Reds tonight at home, and then hope Liverpool lose to Napoli, allowing them to leapfrog Liverpool with a win at Rangers.
Ajax lost long-term manager Erik Ten Hag in the summer, but replacement Alfred Schreuder has done a solid job since arriving, with his side sitting top of the Eredivisie by four points, taking 28 points from a possible 33. They have struggled in the Champions League however, with their sole win coming against Rangers. Liverpool won the return leg at Anfield, whilst Napoli beat them 6-1 at the Johan Cruyff Arena and 4-2 back in Naples.
Liverpool meanwhile have been struggling this season. Their win in the home fixture against Ajax has put them in a strong position to qualify for the Round of 16, but domestically they are way off the pace, down in eighth place, and 12 points off Arsenal at the top of the table. Their last five Premier League games have included a draw with Brighton and defeats by Arsenal and Nottingham Forest.
Liverpool also have a great deal of injury concerns in the squad, with Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and potentially also Darwin Nunez all out for this game. They also have Ibrahima Konate and Joel Matip out, so any injuries to either Virgil van Dijk or Joe Gomez could be extremely problematic.
Despite the issues, anything other than an Ajax win will confirm Liverpool’s qualification to the next round, and they will be hoping to secure that tonight so they can focus on moving up the Premier League table before the World Cup.
Ajax v Liverpool Bet Builder Tips
Both Teams to Score
Ajax’s Champions League games this season have seen both sides score in 3 of their 4 Champions League matches this season, the one exception being the extremely comfortable 4-0 home humbling of Rangers in September.
Liverpool have also seen both sides score in 3 of 4 European games this season, their one exception also being bottom of Group A Rangers who they disposed of 2-0 at Anfield at the start of the month.
Ajax have to win, and in front of their own fans in Amsterdam I would expect they can exploit Liverpool’s defensive frailties, whilst Liverpool know a draw sends them through, though they will also want to win to have a chance of going through as group winners.
This should be an extremely competitive game, and while Liverpool do have the quality to win, they have not always been able to show that this season. I expect Ajax will have plenty of chances, whilst Liverpool’s overwhelming quality should allow them to score at least once.
It is low odds but adds a nice little boost to this Bet Builder, whilst being extremely likely to land.
Roberto Firmino to have 2+ Shots on Target
Only Darwin Nunez is having more shots than Firmino this season, and his accuracy is exceptionally high, with his 3.38 shots per 90 minutes being converted into 1.95 shots on target, just under 2 per game.
The reverse fixture saw an enormous 24 Liverpool shots, 10 of which were on target, which shows the gulf in class between the respective squads. Though Ajax’s need to win this game will likely change this game somewhat, Liverpool’s game against Manchester City last week demonstrates how clinical the team can be when they are given space to play by a team who choose not to sit back.
Almost regardless of how this game goes, Liverpool’s chances are likely to fall to their striker. Mo Salah has been quiet this season, playing more wide and further from goal in an effort to unlock some creativity as their midfield is sorely lacking, especially when Thiago is unavailable.
Even if Ajax dominate the game, Firmino’s accuracy with his shots mean he is still not unlikely to grab a couple of shots on target from half-chances throughout the game. Furthermore, his not insignificant aerial threat means that corners and free kicks also provide opportunities for him to add to his tally.
Being odds-against to this extent is exceptional value, and has a real chance of coming in.
Edson Alvarez to be Carded
Alvarez was booked in the return fixture and looks a prime candidate to receive another card here. He commits more fouls per game than any other Ajax player, bar Lucas Ocampos, at 1.12 per 90 minutes, and made 3 fouls in the return leg.
As a defensive midfielder responsible for screening the back-4, he will be tasked with breaking up fast counters and preventing Liverpool’s midfielders getting a foot on the ball and gaining control of the fixture.
He was involved in 14 duels against Liverpool, 7 ground duels and 7 aerial duels, each one of which if slightly mistimed can result in a foul, and, if severe enough, a yellow card. The four players who draw the most fouls for Liverpool are all potential opponents for Alvarez in this game, those being Curtis Jones, Thiago, Fabio Carvalho, and Harvey Elliott.
If Ajax end up chasing the game, their situation will be extremely desperate and they will likely commit more fouls, again making Alvarez even more likely to be carded as he attempts to win the ball back and get Ajax moving forwards.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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How to watch Ajax v Liverpool in the Champions League?
📅 When is Ajax v Liverpool? / Wednesday, 26th October 2022, 8:00PM
🏟 Where is Ajax v Liverpool? / Johan Cruyff Arena (Amsterdam)
📺 What TV channel is Ajax v Liverpool on? / BT Sport 2
🟨 …And who is the referee for Ajax v Liverpool? / J. Sanchez 🇪🇸