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Familiar faces

Simon Hart returns with his Champions League pre-match preview and this week he's looking at some familiar faces, returning to their former clubs, perhaps sooner than expected

WORDS Simon Hart

A year ago tomorrow Barcelona hosted Bayern München in the Champions League and lost 3-0. Robert Lewandowski scored twice – the first of his 13 goals in last season’s competition for a Bayern team who scored more freely than any other side, finding the net every 29 minutes.

For Barcelona it was the opposite story: they reached the end of the group stage with just two goals scored and had their early exit confirmed when falling to another 3-0 defeat by Bayern back in Bavaria – the fourth victory in a row for the German side against the Blaugrana.

What a difference a year makes. A very different Barcelona will visit Bayern in Group C tonight – not least for the fact Lewandowski will be in the away line-up. The Pole has hit the ground running since his switch to Spain. He has six goals in La Liga and struck a hat-trick on his first Champions League outing for the club against Plzeň.

“If I see him tomorrow, I will shake his hand,” said Julian Nagelsmann, the Bayern coach, and he will not need telling about the threat of a player who  scored 238 goals for Bayern in 253 Bundesliga matches between 2014-22, along with 69 of his overall total of 89 Champions League goals. (His overall total for the club was 344 in 375 appearances.)

Bayern have drawn their last two matches at home, including a 2-2 draw with Stuttgart on Saturday, but they have not lost a home fixture in the Champions League group stage since 2014 and in Thomas Müller have a player with a habit of scoring against the Catalan side – with eight in seven appearances, including one in the 34th minute of both last season's encounters.

Another of the attacking talents to keep an eye on in this fixture is Ousmane Dembélé – he did not score against Plzeň but made more dribbles (13) than any other player on Matchday 1 and also posted six runs into attacking third (joint-fourth on last week’s list).  

Haaland’s Dortmund reunion

Of course, Lewandowski is not the only striker with a swift reunion this week. One hundred and twenty-three days since scoring the last of his 86 goals for Borussia Dortmund, Erling Haaland faces them with his new club Manchester City in Group G on Wednesday night.

Haaland already has 12 goals for City, from eight matches, including two in the 4-0 win at Sevilla last week. With that this remarkable 22-year-old reached a quarter-century of goals in the competition from his first 20 matches.

Haaland has taken no time at all to settle into Man City's system

On the subject of outstanding young players, Dortmund still have Jude Bellingham, the 19-year-old England midfielder who was unfortunate to have a goal disallowed in City’s 2-1 win in Manchester when these sides met in the 2020/21 quarter-finals. He was on target when Dortmund won 3-0 against København in their first match as the German side caught the eye with their swift, direct counterattacking. That said the 3-0 defeat at Leipzig last weekend augurs less well for their prospects of containing a certain old team-mate…

Wobbling Reds meet reinvented Ajax

Liverpool are another side with a question mark hanging over them from their last fixture – in their case the 4-1 defeat at Napoli which continued their unconvincing start to the campaign. Since the 3-1 success against Manchester City in the FA Community Shield, Jürgen Klopp’s men have won just two of their seven matches in the Premier League and Champions League.

Liverpool face a tough test against in-form Ajax

Now a Liverpool player, Darwin Núñez headed Benfica’s winning goal against the Dutch champions in Amsterdam in last term’s last 16 but the Ajax side that step out at Anfield tonight will be full of confidence. If Klopp has said Liverpool have to “reinvent” themselves, under new coach Alfred Schreuder, Ajax have done just that.

Erik ten Hag, Antony, Lisandro Martínez and Ryan Gravenberch headed the list of departures from Ajax during the summer but others have stepped up brilliantly for a team on a seven-match winning streak after following up last week’s 4-0 defeat of Rangers by putting five past Heerenveen.

Steven Bergwin, with nine goals, has hit the ground running following his arrival from Spurs. Mohammed Kudus, the Ghana midfielder linked with a move to Everton last month, produced a man of the match performance in a false nine role against Rangers, capped with a magnificent goal, and will hope to shine on Merseyside. Further back, 21-year-old central defender Juriën Tumber was another to excel against Rangers, ranking in the top ten for deliveries into the attacking third (with an overall pass percentage of 97 per cent).

Ajax lost home and away to Liverpool when the clubs met in the group stage in 2020/21 but their 1-0 defeat in December 2020 is their only reverse in their last 16 away matches in the competition. An intriguing Group A contest awaits.

A year ago tomorrow Barcelona hosted Bayern München in the Champions League and lost 3-0. Robert Lewandowski scored twice – the first of his 13 goals in last season’s competition for a Bayern team who scored more freely than any other side, finding the net every 29 minutes.

For Barcelona it was the opposite story: they reached the end of the group stage with just two goals scored and had their early exit confirmed when falling to another 3-0 defeat by Bayern back in Bavaria – the fourth victory in a row for the German side against the Blaugrana.

What a difference a year makes. A very different Barcelona will visit Bayern in Group C tonight – not least for the fact Lewandowski will be in the away line-up. The Pole has hit the ground running since his switch to Spain. He has six goals in La Liga and struck a hat-trick on his first Champions League outing for the club against Plzeň.

“If I see him tomorrow, I will shake his hand,” said Julian Nagelsmann, the Bayern coach, and he will not need telling about the threat of a player who  scored 238 goals for Bayern in 253 Bundesliga matches between 2014-22, along with 69 of his overall total of 89 Champions League goals. (His overall total for the club was 344 in 375 appearances.)

Bayern have drawn their last two matches at home, including a 2-2 draw with Stuttgart on Saturday, but they have not lost a home fixture in the Champions League group stage since 2014 and in Thomas Müller have a player with a habit of scoring against the Catalan side – with eight in seven appearances, including one in the 34th minute of both last season's encounters.

Another of the attacking talents to keep an eye on in this fixture is Ousmane Dembélé – he did not score against Plzeň but made more dribbles (13) than any other player on Matchday 1 and also posted six runs into attacking third (joint-fourth on last week’s list).  

Haaland’s Dortmund reunion

Of course, Lewandowski is not the only striker with a swift reunion this week. One hundred and twenty-three days since scoring the last of his 86 goals for Borussia Dortmund, Erling Haaland faces them with his new club Manchester City in Group G on Wednesday night.

Haaland already has 12 goals for City, from eight matches, including two in the 4-0 win at Sevilla last week. With that this remarkable 22-year-old reached a quarter-century of goals in the competition from his first 20 matches.

Haaland has taken no time at all to settle into Man City's system

On the subject of outstanding young players, Dortmund still have Jude Bellingham, the 19-year-old England midfielder who was unfortunate to have a goal disallowed in City’s 2-1 win in Manchester when these sides met in the 2020/21 quarter-finals. He was on target when Dortmund won 3-0 against København in their first match as the German side caught the eye with their swift, direct counterattacking. That said the 3-0 defeat at Leipzig last weekend augurs less well for their prospects of containing a certain old team-mate…

Wobbling Reds meet reinvented Ajax

Liverpool are another side with a question mark hanging over them from their last fixture – in their case the 4-1 defeat at Napoli which continued their unconvincing start to the campaign. Since the 3-1 success against Manchester City in the FA Community Shield, Jürgen Klopp’s men have won just two of their seven matches in the Premier League and Champions League.

Liverpool face a tough test against in-form Ajax

Now a Liverpool player, Darwin Núñez headed Benfica’s winning goal against the Dutch champions in Amsterdam in last term’s last 16 but the Ajax side that step out at Anfield tonight will be full of confidence. If Klopp has said Liverpool have to “reinvent” themselves, under new coach Alfred Schreuder, Ajax have done just that.

Erik ten Hag, Antony, Lisandro Martínez and Ryan Gravenberch headed the list of departures from Ajax during the summer but others have stepped up brilliantly for a team on a seven-match winning streak after following up last week’s 4-0 defeat of Rangers by putting five past Heerenveen.

Steven Bergwin, with nine goals, has hit the ground running following his arrival from Spurs. Mohammed Kudus, the Ghana midfielder linked with a move to Everton last month, produced a man of the match performance in a false nine role against Rangers, capped with a magnificent goal, and will hope to shine on Merseyside. Further back, 21-year-old central defender Juriën Tumber was another to excel against Rangers, ranking in the top ten for deliveries into the attacking third (with an overall pass percentage of 97 per cent).

Ajax lost home and away to Liverpool when the clubs met in the group stage in 2020/21 but their 1-0 defeat in December 2020 is their only reverse in their last 16 away matches in the competition. An intriguing Group A contest awaits.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

A year ago tomorrow Barcelona hosted Bayern München in the Champions League and lost 3-0. Robert Lewandowski scored twice – the first of his 13 goals in last season’s competition for a Bayern team who scored more freely than any other side, finding the net every 29 minutes.

For Barcelona it was the opposite story: they reached the end of the group stage with just two goals scored and had their early exit confirmed when falling to another 3-0 defeat by Bayern back in Bavaria – the fourth victory in a row for the German side against the Blaugrana.

What a difference a year makes. A very different Barcelona will visit Bayern in Group C tonight – not least for the fact Lewandowski will be in the away line-up. The Pole has hit the ground running since his switch to Spain. He has six goals in La Liga and struck a hat-trick on his first Champions League outing for the club against Plzeň.

“If I see him tomorrow, I will shake his hand,” said Julian Nagelsmann, the Bayern coach, and he will not need telling about the threat of a player who  scored 238 goals for Bayern in 253 Bundesliga matches between 2014-22, along with 69 of his overall total of 89 Champions League goals. (His overall total for the club was 344 in 375 appearances.)

Bayern have drawn their last two matches at home, including a 2-2 draw with Stuttgart on Saturday, but they have not lost a home fixture in the Champions League group stage since 2014 and in Thomas Müller have a player with a habit of scoring against the Catalan side – with eight in seven appearances, including one in the 34th minute of both last season's encounters.

Another of the attacking talents to keep an eye on in this fixture is Ousmane Dembélé – he did not score against Plzeň but made more dribbles (13) than any other player on Matchday 1 and also posted six runs into attacking third (joint-fourth on last week’s list).  

Haaland’s Dortmund reunion

Of course, Lewandowski is not the only striker with a swift reunion this week. One hundred and twenty-three days since scoring the last of his 86 goals for Borussia Dortmund, Erling Haaland faces them with his new club Manchester City in Group G on Wednesday night.

Haaland already has 12 goals for City, from eight matches, including two in the 4-0 win at Sevilla last week. With that this remarkable 22-year-old reached a quarter-century of goals in the competition from his first 20 matches.

Haaland has taken no time at all to settle into Man City's system

On the subject of outstanding young players, Dortmund still have Jude Bellingham, the 19-year-old England midfielder who was unfortunate to have a goal disallowed in City’s 2-1 win in Manchester when these sides met in the 2020/21 quarter-finals. He was on target when Dortmund won 3-0 against København in their first match as the German side caught the eye with their swift, direct counterattacking. That said the 3-0 defeat at Leipzig last weekend augurs less well for their prospects of containing a certain old team-mate…

Wobbling Reds meet reinvented Ajax

Liverpool are another side with a question mark hanging over them from their last fixture – in their case the 4-1 defeat at Napoli which continued their unconvincing start to the campaign. Since the 3-1 success against Manchester City in the FA Community Shield, Jürgen Klopp’s men have won just two of their seven matches in the Premier League and Champions League.

Liverpool face a tough test against in-form Ajax

Now a Liverpool player, Darwin Núñez headed Benfica’s winning goal against the Dutch champions in Amsterdam in last term’s last 16 but the Ajax side that step out at Anfield tonight will be full of confidence. If Klopp has said Liverpool have to “reinvent” themselves, under new coach Alfred Schreuder, Ajax have done just that.

Erik ten Hag, Antony, Lisandro Martínez and Ryan Gravenberch headed the list of departures from Ajax during the summer but others have stepped up brilliantly for a team on a seven-match winning streak after following up last week’s 4-0 defeat of Rangers by putting five past Heerenveen.

Steven Bergwin, with nine goals, has hit the ground running following his arrival from Spurs. Mohammed Kudus, the Ghana midfielder linked with a move to Everton last month, produced a man of the match performance in a false nine role against Rangers, capped with a magnificent goal, and will hope to shine on Merseyside. Further back, 21-year-old central defender Juriën Tumber was another to excel against Rangers, ranking in the top ten for deliveries into the attacking third (with an overall pass percentage of 97 per cent).

Ajax lost home and away to Liverpool when the clubs met in the group stage in 2020/21 but their 1-0 defeat in December 2020 is their only reverse in their last 16 away matches in the competition. An intriguing Group A contest awaits.

Familiar faces
Blog

Familiar faces

Simon Hart returns with his Champions League pre-match preview and this week he's looking at some familiar faces, returning to their former clubs, perhaps sooner than expected

WORDS Simon Hart

A year ago tomorrow Barcelona hosted Bayern München in the Champions League and lost 3-0. Robert Lewandowski scored twice – the first of his 13 goals in last season’s competition for a Bayern team who scored more freely than any other side, finding the net every 29 minutes.

For Barcelona it was the opposite story: they reached the end of the group stage with just two goals scored and had their early exit confirmed when falling to another 3-0 defeat by Bayern back in Bavaria – the fourth victory in a row for the German side against the Blaugrana.

What a difference a year makes. A very different Barcelona will visit Bayern in Group C tonight – not least for the fact Lewandowski will be in the away line-up. The Pole has hit the ground running since his switch to Spain. He has six goals in La Liga and struck a hat-trick on his first Champions League outing for the club against Plzeň.

“If I see him tomorrow, I will shake his hand,” said Julian Nagelsmann, the Bayern coach, and he will not need telling about the threat of a player who  scored 238 goals for Bayern in 253 Bundesliga matches between 2014-22, along with 69 of his overall total of 89 Champions League goals. (His overall total for the club was 344 in 375 appearances.)

Bayern have drawn their last two matches at home, including a 2-2 draw with Stuttgart on Saturday, but they have not lost a home fixture in the Champions League group stage since 2014 and in Thomas Müller have a player with a habit of scoring against the Catalan side – with eight in seven appearances, including one in the 34th minute of both last season's encounters.

Another of the attacking talents to keep an eye on in this fixture is Ousmane Dembélé – he did not score against Plzeň but made more dribbles (13) than any other player on Matchday 1 and also posted six runs into attacking third (joint-fourth on last week’s list).  

Haaland’s Dortmund reunion

Of course, Lewandowski is not the only striker with a swift reunion this week. One hundred and twenty-three days since scoring the last of his 86 goals for Borussia Dortmund, Erling Haaland faces them with his new club Manchester City in Group G on Wednesday night.

Haaland already has 12 goals for City, from eight matches, including two in the 4-0 win at Sevilla last week. With that this remarkable 22-year-old reached a quarter-century of goals in the competition from his first 20 matches.

Haaland has taken no time at all to settle into Man City's system

On the subject of outstanding young players, Dortmund still have Jude Bellingham, the 19-year-old England midfielder who was unfortunate to have a goal disallowed in City’s 2-1 win in Manchester when these sides met in the 2020/21 quarter-finals. He was on target when Dortmund won 3-0 against København in their first match as the German side caught the eye with their swift, direct counterattacking. That said the 3-0 defeat at Leipzig last weekend augurs less well for their prospects of containing a certain old team-mate…

Wobbling Reds meet reinvented Ajax

Liverpool are another side with a question mark hanging over them from their last fixture – in their case the 4-1 defeat at Napoli which continued their unconvincing start to the campaign. Since the 3-1 success against Manchester City in the FA Community Shield, Jürgen Klopp’s men have won just two of their seven matches in the Premier League and Champions League.

Liverpool face a tough test against in-form Ajax

Now a Liverpool player, Darwin Núñez headed Benfica’s winning goal against the Dutch champions in Amsterdam in last term’s last 16 but the Ajax side that step out at Anfield tonight will be full of confidence. If Klopp has said Liverpool have to “reinvent” themselves, under new coach Alfred Schreuder, Ajax have done just that.

Erik ten Hag, Antony, Lisandro Martínez and Ryan Gravenberch headed the list of departures from Ajax during the summer but others have stepped up brilliantly for a team on a seven-match winning streak after following up last week’s 4-0 defeat of Rangers by putting five past Heerenveen.

Steven Bergwin, with nine goals, has hit the ground running following his arrival from Spurs. Mohammed Kudus, the Ghana midfielder linked with a move to Everton last month, produced a man of the match performance in a false nine role against Rangers, capped with a magnificent goal, and will hope to shine on Merseyside. Further back, 21-year-old central defender Juriën Tumber was another to excel against Rangers, ranking in the top ten for deliveries into the attacking third (with an overall pass percentage of 97 per cent).

Ajax lost home and away to Liverpool when the clubs met in the group stage in 2020/21 but their 1-0 defeat in December 2020 is their only reverse in their last 16 away matches in the competition. An intriguing Group A contest awaits.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

A year ago tomorrow Barcelona hosted Bayern München in the Champions League and lost 3-0. Robert Lewandowski scored twice – the first of his 13 goals in last season’s competition for a Bayern team who scored more freely than any other side, finding the net every 29 minutes.

For Barcelona it was the opposite story: they reached the end of the group stage with just two goals scored and had their early exit confirmed when falling to another 3-0 defeat by Bayern back in Bavaria – the fourth victory in a row for the German side against the Blaugrana.

What a difference a year makes. A very different Barcelona will visit Bayern in Group C tonight – not least for the fact Lewandowski will be in the away line-up. The Pole has hit the ground running since his switch to Spain. He has six goals in La Liga and struck a hat-trick on his first Champions League outing for the club against Plzeň.

“If I see him tomorrow, I will shake his hand,” said Julian Nagelsmann, the Bayern coach, and he will not need telling about the threat of a player who  scored 238 goals for Bayern in 253 Bundesliga matches between 2014-22, along with 69 of his overall total of 89 Champions League goals. (His overall total for the club was 344 in 375 appearances.)

Bayern have drawn their last two matches at home, including a 2-2 draw with Stuttgart on Saturday, but they have not lost a home fixture in the Champions League group stage since 2014 and in Thomas Müller have a player with a habit of scoring against the Catalan side – with eight in seven appearances, including one in the 34th minute of both last season's encounters.

Another of the attacking talents to keep an eye on in this fixture is Ousmane Dembélé – he did not score against Plzeň but made more dribbles (13) than any other player on Matchday 1 and also posted six runs into attacking third (joint-fourth on last week’s list).  

Haaland’s Dortmund reunion

Of course, Lewandowski is not the only striker with a swift reunion this week. One hundred and twenty-three days since scoring the last of his 86 goals for Borussia Dortmund, Erling Haaland faces them with his new club Manchester City in Group G on Wednesday night.

Haaland already has 12 goals for City, from eight matches, including two in the 4-0 win at Sevilla last week. With that this remarkable 22-year-old reached a quarter-century of goals in the competition from his first 20 matches.

Haaland has taken no time at all to settle into Man City's system

On the subject of outstanding young players, Dortmund still have Jude Bellingham, the 19-year-old England midfielder who was unfortunate to have a goal disallowed in City’s 2-1 win in Manchester when these sides met in the 2020/21 quarter-finals. He was on target when Dortmund won 3-0 against København in their first match as the German side caught the eye with their swift, direct counterattacking. That said the 3-0 defeat at Leipzig last weekend augurs less well for their prospects of containing a certain old team-mate…

Wobbling Reds meet reinvented Ajax

Liverpool are another side with a question mark hanging over them from their last fixture – in their case the 4-1 defeat at Napoli which continued their unconvincing start to the campaign. Since the 3-1 success against Manchester City in the FA Community Shield, Jürgen Klopp’s men have won just two of their seven matches in the Premier League and Champions League.

Liverpool face a tough test against in-form Ajax

Now a Liverpool player, Darwin Núñez headed Benfica’s winning goal against the Dutch champions in Amsterdam in last term’s last 16 but the Ajax side that step out at Anfield tonight will be full of confidence. If Klopp has said Liverpool have to “reinvent” themselves, under new coach Alfred Schreuder, Ajax have done just that.

Erik ten Hag, Antony, Lisandro Martínez and Ryan Gravenberch headed the list of departures from Ajax during the summer but others have stepped up brilliantly for a team on a seven-match winning streak after following up last week’s 4-0 defeat of Rangers by putting five past Heerenveen.

Steven Bergwin, with nine goals, has hit the ground running following his arrival from Spurs. Mohammed Kudus, the Ghana midfielder linked with a move to Everton last month, produced a man of the match performance in a false nine role against Rangers, capped with a magnificent goal, and will hope to shine on Merseyside. Further back, 21-year-old central defender Juriën Tumber was another to excel against Rangers, ranking in the top ten for deliveries into the attacking third (with an overall pass percentage of 97 per cent).

Ajax lost home and away to Liverpool when the clubs met in the group stage in 2020/21 but their 1-0 defeat in December 2020 is their only reverse in their last 16 away matches in the competition. An intriguing Group A contest awaits.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

A year ago tomorrow Barcelona hosted Bayern München in the Champions League and lost 3-0. Robert Lewandowski scored twice – the first of his 13 goals in last season’s competition for a Bayern team who scored more freely than any other side, finding the net every 29 minutes.

For Barcelona it was the opposite story: they reached the end of the group stage with just two goals scored and had their early exit confirmed when falling to another 3-0 defeat by Bayern back in Bavaria – the fourth victory in a row for the German side against the Blaugrana.

What a difference a year makes. A very different Barcelona will visit Bayern in Group C tonight – not least for the fact Lewandowski will be in the away line-up. The Pole has hit the ground running since his switch to Spain. He has six goals in La Liga and struck a hat-trick on his first Champions League outing for the club against Plzeň.

“If I see him tomorrow, I will shake his hand,” said Julian Nagelsmann, the Bayern coach, and he will not need telling about the threat of a player who  scored 238 goals for Bayern in 253 Bundesliga matches between 2014-22, along with 69 of his overall total of 89 Champions League goals. (His overall total for the club was 344 in 375 appearances.)

Bayern have drawn their last two matches at home, including a 2-2 draw with Stuttgart on Saturday, but they have not lost a home fixture in the Champions League group stage since 2014 and in Thomas Müller have a player with a habit of scoring against the Catalan side – with eight in seven appearances, including one in the 34th minute of both last season's encounters.

Another of the attacking talents to keep an eye on in this fixture is Ousmane Dembélé – he did not score against Plzeň but made more dribbles (13) than any other player on Matchday 1 and also posted six runs into attacking third (joint-fourth on last week’s list).  

Haaland’s Dortmund reunion

Of course, Lewandowski is not the only striker with a swift reunion this week. One hundred and twenty-three days since scoring the last of his 86 goals for Borussia Dortmund, Erling Haaland faces them with his new club Manchester City in Group G on Wednesday night.

Haaland already has 12 goals for City, from eight matches, including two in the 4-0 win at Sevilla last week. With that this remarkable 22-year-old reached a quarter-century of goals in the competition from his first 20 matches.

Haaland has taken no time at all to settle into Man City's system

On the subject of outstanding young players, Dortmund still have Jude Bellingham, the 19-year-old England midfielder who was unfortunate to have a goal disallowed in City’s 2-1 win in Manchester when these sides met in the 2020/21 quarter-finals. He was on target when Dortmund won 3-0 against København in their first match as the German side caught the eye with their swift, direct counterattacking. That said the 3-0 defeat at Leipzig last weekend augurs less well for their prospects of containing a certain old team-mate…

Wobbling Reds meet reinvented Ajax

Liverpool are another side with a question mark hanging over them from their last fixture – in their case the 4-1 defeat at Napoli which continued their unconvincing start to the campaign. Since the 3-1 success against Manchester City in the FA Community Shield, Jürgen Klopp’s men have won just two of their seven matches in the Premier League and Champions League.

Liverpool face a tough test against in-form Ajax

Now a Liverpool player, Darwin Núñez headed Benfica’s winning goal against the Dutch champions in Amsterdam in last term’s last 16 but the Ajax side that step out at Anfield tonight will be full of confidence. If Klopp has said Liverpool have to “reinvent” themselves, under new coach Alfred Schreuder, Ajax have done just that.

Erik ten Hag, Antony, Lisandro Martínez and Ryan Gravenberch headed the list of departures from Ajax during the summer but others have stepped up brilliantly for a team on a seven-match winning streak after following up last week’s 4-0 defeat of Rangers by putting five past Heerenveen.

Steven Bergwin, with nine goals, has hit the ground running following his arrival from Spurs. Mohammed Kudus, the Ghana midfielder linked with a move to Everton last month, produced a man of the match performance in a false nine role against Rangers, capped with a magnificent goal, and will hope to shine on Merseyside. Further back, 21-year-old central defender Juriën Tumber was another to excel against Rangers, ranking in the top ten for deliveries into the attacking third (with an overall pass percentage of 97 per cent).

Ajax lost home and away to Liverpool when the clubs met in the group stage in 2020/21 but their 1-0 defeat in December 2020 is their only reverse in their last 16 away matches in the competition. An intriguing Group A contest awaits.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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