Liverpool will be out to avoid recording their worst-ever start to a Champions League campaign when they welcome Ajax to Anfield on Tuesday night.
The Reds were drawn against the Amsterdam giants, Napoli and Rangers in Group A of Europe’s premier competition as they endeavour to go one step further than last season’s final defeat to Real Madrid.
Jurgen Klopp’s side ended the 2021-22 tournament with a perfect record of six wins from six group-stage games, and victory at Napoli would have seen the Reds become the first-ever English team to win seven in a row at that point of the competition.
However, Liverpool were outclassed and embarrassed in a 4-1 loss to the Partenopei at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, as Piotr Zielinski (2), Giovanni Simeone and Andre Zambo Anguissa struck for the hosts.
Luis Diaz’s strike in the 49th minute could not inspire a comeback from the Reds, who are now out to avoid making unwanted club history when Alfred Schreuder’s side make the journey to Anfield.
Should Ajax run out winners on Tuesday night, it will mark the first time in Liverpool’s history that they have opened a Champions League campaign with back-to-back defeats.
The Eredivisie champions thumped Rangers 4-0 on the opening matchday and also enter this game on the back of a 5-0 victory over Heerenveen in league action at the weekend.
Meanwhile, Liverpool have had a week to recover from their 4-1 defeat to Napoli after domestic fixtures in the United Kingdom were postponed following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Ajax travel to Anfield having lost just two of their last 25 away games in the Champions League and Europa League, and Klopp has talked up the importance of showing a reaction to his “worst game” in charge of Liverpool.
“I watched the game back plenty of times and it was a real horror show, to be honest. That was the worst game we played since I am here,” Klopp said at his pre-game press conference.
“Obviously we have to show a reaction definitely, we know that. That doesn’t guarantee a result against Ajax. Ajax are actually, I would say, pretty much in the opposite situation, completely different, won all their games so far this season.
“Have again a rebuild, a really massive rebuild, but doing no surprise again a really good job. I think Ajax expect us to react. I’m not sure if they use a lot of the Napoli game and say ‘Yeah, OK, that’s how they can play as well.”
Liverpool remain unbeaten at Anfield this season, although their most recent Champions League defeat in front of their own fans came as recently as March against Inter Milan in a 1-0 last-16 loss.
Klopp has also revealed that his side will be without the services of Andy Robertson for Tuesday’s game with Ajax after the left-back picked up a knee injury against Napoli.