Liverpool welcome Ajax to Anfield for a Champions League tie on Tuesday, as Jurgen Klopp’s side aim to respond from last week’s 4-1 thumping against Napoli which the Reds boss labelled a “real horror”

Having been forced to pull out of Premier League action last weekend, Liverpool are still waiting to churn last Wednesday’s catastrophic 4-1 defeat to Napoli out of their system.

The death of Queen Elizabeth II meant that the Reds weren’t able to face Wolves on Saturday, meaning Ajax ‘s visit to Anfield in the Champions League will be their first outing since the Italian nightmare. Jurgen Klopp ‘s side were smashed by Napoli to get their European campaign off to the worst possible start, and now Dutch champions Ajax are aiming to compound their misery.

But how have Klopp and co responded behind the scenes? Well, the Liverpool manager explained in his pre-match news conference: “We had a meeting with the players, I watched the game and it was a real horror to be honest. It was the worst game we played since I am here.”

The Reds – who’ll pay tribute to the late Queen pre-match – are now tasked with putting things right in front of a baying home crowd, who’re eager to see their team respond in emphatic fashion before another weekend without a league fixture to come.

Here are seven things we spotted from training.


If there’s one area in particular where Liverpool’s problems can be found, it’s in midfield. Jurgen Klopp has been limited in his options since the season began, prompting the Anfield hierarchy to bring Arthur Melo in on loan from Juventus just hours before the summer transfer window closed.

And they’ve got someone else who’ll feel like a new singing: Thiago Alcantara. While the 31-year-old Spaniard isn’t fully up to speed, his 28-minute cameo against Napoli was promising, and Klopp should throw him into his starting XI when Ajax come to town. Thiago has been back in training for a full week now, so there’s no reason to assume that he’s anything but raring to go.


It seems rather surprising that Liverpool’s £68million signing, Darwin Nunez, has only played one competitive game at Anfield, despite it being mid-September. That’s obviously because the 23-year-old Uruguayan decided to headbutt Crystal Palace defender Joachim Andersen on his home debut, receiving a three-match ban for his mind-boggling behaviour.

Although Roberto Firmino has enjoyed a brief purple patch, it remains clear that Nunez needs more minutes to embed himself into Klopp’s system, something which the Reds boss realises. Not only has the ex-Benfica striker got a point to prove to his manager, but also to his home supporters.


This time last year, Mohamed Salah was without question the most in-form player in the world. Scoring goals for fun and leading Liverpool’s quadruple charge, the Egyptian King of Anfield is left searching for his crown in present day. Salah’s powers have wained drastically this time around – even if two goals and two assists in six Premier League games is a healthy return for an average winger.

But the 30-year-old is no average footballer, he’s one blessed with world-class ability and just hasn’t shown it this season. Under the Anfield lights would be the perfect time for Salah to respond and silence his critics – and it might just boost his ranking in the upcoming Ballon d’Or race.


Much like Salah’s form a year ago and even as recently as the end of last term, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Liverpool fan with a bad word to say about Trent Alexander-Arnold. Humble and homegrown, his outstanding talent makes him a legend in-the-making on Merseyside.

But legendary status doesn’t come with performances like his last week, as the aforementioned horror show in Naples saw him come in for unprecedented stick – at least from his point of view. Demonstrating a stark lack of desire on and off the ball, fans have rightly questioned the 23-year-old right-back’s mentality and are noticing his decline. Time to show what you’re made of, Trent.


“Calm as you like,” the song goes for Virgil van Dijk, and the Dutch defender was exactly that at the AXA Training Complex on Monday. Looking cheery despite being torn to shreds by Napoli’s attack in his last appearance, Van Dijk is certainly one of the players who Klopp will look to for a response.

The 31-year-old is expected to don the captain’s armband against Ajax with James Milner set to be dropped, meaning that Van Dijk will have extra responsibility come showtime. As the opposition herald from his homeland, he’ll surely be well-versed in how to deal with the threat Alfred Schreuder’s side possess.


With Andy Roberton suddenly ruled out until after the international break, Kostas Tsimikas is all but certain to be handed a start at left-back on Tuesday in the Scot’s absence. The 26-year-old Greece international has edged his way into favour over the past few months and now has a chance to truly shine.

In his two years at Anfield, Tsimikas has failed to usurped Robertson, who Klopp provided a downbeat update on. “Robbo now is not 100 per cent,” the German confirmed. “It was very late [against Napoli], in the 93rd minute or whatever, he actually felt it the next day only, but yes he is out and he is out at least until after the international break.”


It’s been a tough few weeks for Joe Gomez. After signing a new long-term deal with Liverpool over the summer, the 25-year-old’s career continues to falter. Hooked at half-time in Naples following a porous 45 minutes, Gomez now needs rally himself to assure Reds fans that his future should remain at Anfield.

An option at right-back if Alexander Arnold’s form fails to improve, Klopp evidently isn’t willing to give up on the World Cup hopeful, whose chances of repressing England in Qatar look slimmer by the day. Gomez must repay that faith soon enough, though, and Ajax stand in his way first.

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