UEFA Champions League Match and Betting preview
In previous UEFA Champions League campaigns, this would be seen as a freebie for Liverpool. This season, however, the Merseyside club is struggling to play at a high level in the English Premier League and in Europe as seen by their meek 4-1 defeat to Napoli last week.
Ajax, on the other hand, remain dominant in the Dutch Eredivisie even after a summer transfer window where fifteen players left the club. They’ve also started off their Champions League campaign this season on a good note by beating Scottish giants, Rangers 4-0 last week.
If the start of this season is anything to go by, this will be a tough game for the home side. Liverpool will hope to bounce back from an average start with a dominant win at home. Meanwhile, Ajax will be hoping to take advantage of Liverpool’s current poor form and claim a sizable scalp to take back home to Amsterdam.
Who wins this one? Read on below for our preview!
Liverpool and Ajax were both drawn in UCL Group D in 2020 where Liverpool won both group games 1-0. Till date, those two games make up the H2H record of these two teams
Liverpool’s poor form is reflected in their recent form. In the last five games, the Reds have won just two games, drawn once and lost twice. (L-W-W-D-L)
Ajax have been perfect in their last five games, winning all five games, scoring 16 goals and conceding none. They come into tonight’s match in impeccable form and will be eager to extend that run.
Liverpool: The Reds’ poor injury record this season persists with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Hamstring injury), Andrew Robertson (Muscle injury), Caoimhin Kelleher (Physical discomfort), Curtis Jones (Shin injury), Ibrahima Konate (Knee injury), Jordan Henderson (Hamstring injury), Naby Keita (Muscle injury), and Calvin Ramsay (Back injury) still out.
Crucial first team players like Thiago Alcantara and Joel Matip have since recovered, however and will both be in line for starting berths. Joe Gomez is expected to be dropped after his horror show at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona last week.
Expected Liverpool starting XI: Alisson Becker; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Virgil Van Dijk, Konstantinos Tsimikas; Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara, Harvey Elliot; Mo Salah, Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz. (4-3-3)
Ajax: The away side have been luckier with injuries than Liverpool. Only left back, Owen Wijndal is still out, and he’s expected to return to full training today.
The rest of the squad is healthy. Head Coach, Alfred Schreuder is expected to name his strongest starting XI.
Expected Ajax starting XI: Remko Pasveer; Devyne Rensch, Jurrien Timber, Calvin Bassey, Daley Blind; Edson Alvarez, Steven Berghuis, Kenneth Taylor; Dusan Tadic, Mohammed Kudus, Steven Bergwijn.
After just one round of games in the Champions League, it’s too early to reach conclusions using their UCL stats. We’ll use their domestic league campaign stats to predict the markets you can bet on.
Luis Diaz is Liverpool’s top scorer this season with 4 goals in 7 games including a consolation goal against Napoli. Steven Bergwijn is Ajax’s highest goal scorer with 7 goals in 7 games this season. The Dutch forward also scored a goal in the UCL last week.
Liverpool average the highest shots on target (6.5/game) in the EPL this season while Ajax average a similar number of shots on target (6.2/game) but only good for 3rd-best in the Eredivisie.
Liverpool average 525 accurate passes/game and 68.7% of possesion in their first 6 EPL matches while Ajax average 549.5 accurate passes/game and 68% of possesion in 6 games.
Liverpool win the ball in the final third 5.5 times/game on average in the EPL while Ajax win the ball in the same zone 5.8 times/game in the Dutch League. Both teams press high, this will be an open game if they stick to their principles.
Liverpool have already conceded 2 penalties in this UCL, they’ll need to be careful, especially against Ajax’s tricky forwards.
First, Liverpool have defended so poorly this season that we expect an Ajax goal here. Bet on both teams to score @ 1.50
If Liverpool start slowly again, they could be in real trouble. Hedge your bets with a double chance on Ajax to win/draw @ 2.53
Liverpool have already conceded two penalties in the UCL this season. Bet on that to continue by betting on the ‘penalty taken’ market @ 2.44
If you believe Mohamed Salah can shake off this strange malaise and start scoring freely again, take a punt on him to score the most goals in the UCL this season @ 22.00
The way Napoli beat Liverpool in the first game shows how dangerous the Neapolitans really are. Bet on Napoli to win Group A @ 3.20