Liverpool vs Ajax predictions: Klopp's men must react to Napoli defeat
Jurgen Klopp will be expecting a reaction to last week's 4-1 defeat at Napoli when Liverpool host Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday.
The Reds have reached the final of Europe's premier club competition in three of the last five years but they must improve in Group A if they are to progress this season.
A listless first-half performance, littered with defensive mistakes, saw Napoli lead 3-0 at half-time in their opener and, while Liverpool were better after the break and Luis Diaz scored, the damage had already been done.
Aside from the 9-0 hammering of Bournemouth in the Premier League, Klopp's side have been some way short of their best so far this season and they will be wary of taking on an Ajax outfit who sit top in the Netherlands with a perfect six from six winning record.
Alfred Schreuder's side have won their last five games in all competitions to nil, including a 4-0 mauling of Rangers in their Group A opener, and they will approach their trip to Anfield confident they can cause the Reds problems.
Andy Robertson suffered a knee injury against Napoli and has been ruled out until early October, so Kostas Tsimikas is set to start at left-back.
Curtis Jones, Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all still absent for the Reds but Thiago Alcantara and Joel Matip are both fit and are tipped to start with James Milner and Joe Gomez expected to make way in what could be a much-changed Liverpool line-up.
Fabio Carvalho is also fit after a knock and he will hope to return to the starting XI.
Ajax have just one injury concern with left-back Owen Wijndal ruled out with an ankle problem.
Liverpool beat Ajax home and away in the Champions League group stage in the 2020-21 season, winning 1-0 in Amsterdam before a repeat scoreline in the home game.
However, those two matches are the only time the two European giants have ever met in the modern-day Champions League with their only previous two-legged tie coming in the European Cup in 1966 when Ajax won 7-3 on aggregate.
Liverpool are unbeaten at Anfield in their last 10 matches in all competitions and have only lost one of their last nine home Champions League games — a 1-0 reverse to Inter Milan in the round of 16 last term which proved inconsequential due to a 2-0 first-leg win in Italy.
Ajax's Mohammed Kudus is in fine form with four goals in his last three appearances, while former Tottenham man Steven Bergwijn has seven goals in seven games following his summer move to Amsterdam.
Ajax have won all of their last seven games in all competitions, with an aggregate score of 25-3.
In virtually all of their matches this season, Liverpool's opponents have created clear-cut chances and Klopp's team have conceded the first goal in five of their seven games since the Community Shield, highlighting a worrying slow-starting trend.
In-form pair Kudus and Bergwijn are the obvious danger men for the visitors and Ajax can get on the scoresheet for the ninth successive game this season by again exposing Liverpool's fragility at the back.
Klopp is expected to ring the changes in the hope a freshened-up side will provide a reaction but they will still need key men like Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Mohamed Salah to quickly rediscover their form if they are to get back to winning ways.
Big-money summer signing Darwin Nunez has struggled to make much of an impact after being sent off on his home debut against Crystal Palace but he will be fired up to make amends should he start and Liverpool will hope he can provide the spark to help them secure a nervy home win.