Ian Doyle: Anyone for a pint of Gazprom?
Yes, the Champions League is back in Liverpool and it’s the return of all your favorites.
Well, apart from the crowd. And atmosphere. And Virgil van Dijk. And Alison Becker. And Joel Matip. And Thiago Alcantara.
These absences do not allow Jürgen Klopp to make a defense decision, as Fabinho falls into the central defender alongside Joe Gomez.
The midfield is therefore a bit trickier. Maybe it’s time for the return of something that might not have been everyone’s favorite but can do the job here – a midfield from Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Gini Wijnaldum.
Roberto Firmino needs a breather upstairs. So why not start with the attack that ended in Goodison with Sadio Mane Central, Diogo Jota on the left and Mohamed Salah on the right?
My team (4-3-3): Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Fabinho, Robertson; Henderson, Milner, Wijnaldum; Wrong, mane, iota.
Paul Gorst: Jurgen Klopp has looked visibly frustrated lately but he will have to persuade the troops when Liverpool’s Champions League campaign kicks off in Amsterdam.
No Thiago or Van Dijk or Matip or Oxlade-Chamberlain or Alisson … how does the boss of the Reds deal with it?
For me, Fabinho has to stop by Joe Gomez in the central defender and keep my fingers crossed, both of them come through unscathed.
In midfield the loss of the obviously brilliant Thiago is big, but it’s also difficult not to have Fabinho there. It could mean callbacks for Gini Wijnaldum and Naby Keita.
Above I give Roberto Firmino one more try. The Brazilian needs a goal, hopefully his trip to Amsterdam can do the trick. The form strong couple of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane starts.
My team (4-3-3): Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Gomez, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Keita; Salah, Firmino, mane.
Who is doing your Start-XI? Are Firmino or Keita included? Let us know in the comments!
“Keita gets the nod to attack Ajax from the front”
Connor Dunn: Due to the injury situation in Liverpool, there is little choice of who will be in the last five places.
As my colleagues have already indicated, Fabinho has to start in the central defender alongside Joe Gomez, as Adrian goes into goal with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson on both flanks.
Elsewhere, things are a little more interesting.
Jordan Henderson was stellar against Everton and his boundless energy means he’s the first name on the team sheet in midfield while Gini Wijnaldum is the man for a big European game, joining the captain in the engine room.
For me I would start Naby Keita to attack Ajax from the start, while I would get James Milner to finish the game later once the Reds are in the lead.
When I led the line, I really liked the way Liverpool finished the Merseyside derby with Diogo Jota on the left, Sadio Mane in the middle and Mohamed Salah on the right – so that’s the trio I love at Johan Cruyff ArenA would see.
That of course leaves Roberto Firmino on the bench, but he can change the game if necessary – as he did before against big European opponents.
My team (4-3-3): Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Fabinho, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Keita; Wrong, mane, iota.
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“Welcome back for Keita and Firmino in the spotlight”
Peter Harris: This is where the time of defensive change begins with a trip to Ajax, a difficult start to any Champions League campaign.
Jürgen Klopp confidently declared Fabinho his center-back at the start of the season and now he has to prove his own point. With no Virgil van Dijk available and Joel Matip also missing for the first game in the group stage, the Brazilian midfielder has to show that there is no need to be upset.
The rest of the backline remains the same as in this Merseyside derby, with Adrian keeping his place too. There was good news of Alisson’s recovery, but no indication that he was just about ready to play.
In midfield, Gini Wijnaldum returns alongside captain Jordan Henderson, who was an impressive figure against Everton. A welcome return for Naby Keita would give a much-needed boost as the Champions League clash comes a little early for Thiago, who is recovering from the Richarlison challenge.
It’s still not quite working for Firmino, so now is the time to take him off the spotlight and make sure he’s rested for the weekend. Diogo Jota plays on the left, where he recently impressed for Portugal, while Mane and Salah can battle for the central position between them.
My team (4-3-3): Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Gomez, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Keita; Jota, Mähne, Salah.
Got to read Liverpool FC news
“Wijnaldum takes on the role of Fabinho”
Sean Bradbury: A tricky test for Liverpool to start their Champions League campaign.
And it became all the more difficult when Virgil van Dijk was injured long-term and Thiago and Joel Matip were out.
That means, the backline chooses itself: Adrian with Fabinho, Joe Gomez, Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold in front of him.
The midfield must be realigned after the move from Fabinho.
I would keep Henderson in the role he cast earlier. That said, Gini Wijnaldum is the deeper man, with Henderson and Naby Keita in front of him.
Finally, given the magnitude of this clash, there are no surprises. It’s the usual suspects.
My team (4-3-3): Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Fabinho, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Keita; Salah, Firmino, mane.
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