Ajax vs. Liverpool – Champions League, October 21, 2020
Two giants of the European game go head-to-head in the Champions League on Wednesday, October 21, as Ajax welcomes Liverpool to the Johan Cruyff Arena.
The Dutch giant reached the UCL semi-finals in 2018/19, the same year that Liverpool lifted the trophy. But having failed to shine on the European stage last season, both sides will be looking to start the campaign on a high and take control of Group D.
After discussing the bookies’ odds, I give my Ajax vs. Liverpool prediction and betting pick.
Ajax vs. Liverpool Odds
Ajax may have the home advantage on Wednesday, but the bookmakers still view Liverpool as the firm favorite to win this game.
Having said that, the English champion hasn’t been overly convincing in the early stages of the season, so I wouldn’t be shocked if the lofty odds for the draw and the Ajax win are considered by a lot of bettors.
Ajax has barely put a foot wrong this season. The Amsterdam outfit’s sole defeat came against Groningen on Matchday 4 of the Eredivisie campaign, but the reigning Dutch champion has won their other four top-flight games with ease.
Dusan Tadic bagged a brace as Ajax crushed Heerenveen 5-1 on Sunday, with Mohammed Kudus, Davy Klaassen, and Antony also getting on the scoresheet. Ajax has now netted 11 goals this term and has conceded just three, with two clean sheets coming along the way.
Of course, losing key duo Hakim Ziyech and Donny van de Beek to the EPL has weakened Erik ten Hag’s squad. Sergino Dest was also snapped up by Barcelona during the recent transfer window, but the manager still has plenty of top-quality options in every position.
Liverpool conceded nine goals in their last two games.— B/R Football (@brfootball) October 18, 2020
Alisson and Van Dijk are hurt.
Ajax just beat Heerenveen 5-1.
Next up: Ajax vs. Liverpool pic.twitter.com/LyqsU0jiyv
On the flip side, Liverpool has made a shaky start to the defense of their Premier League crown. It appeared to be business as usual as the Reds won their opening three league games this season. But after suffering a humiliating 7-2 thrashing to Aston Villa, Jurgen Klopp’s side was held to a draw by Everton on Saturday.
Granted, Liverpool dominated large spells of the Merseyside derby and had a number of contentious decisions go against them. Star defender Virgil van Dijk looks set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a knee problem, while Thiago was also injured last time out.
Klopp’s squad is deep enough to deal with unexpected absences, although replacing a player of van Dijk’s importance is almost impossible. Still, Liverpool arguably boasts the deadliest forward line on the planet, with the front three – Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino – capable of destroying the best defenses in the European game.
Ajax vs. Liverpool Pick
Liverpool to Win1.65
Even without van Dijk and Thiago, Liverpool should have more than enough quality to overcome Ajax. In my opinion, the Reds were extremely unlucky not to beat Everton last weekend, and the team bounced back well following the defeat to Villa.
By contrast, without Ziyech and van de Beek, Ajax is likely to struggle to compete in the Champions League this season. The Dutch side’s squad is nowhere near as deep as Liverpool’s, so I’m backing the Klopp’s men to snatch all three points on Wednesday.