Monday , January 25 2021

‘Liverpool can do more harm to Ajax than vice versa’

On Tuesday night, Ajax will play in Anfield in the fight for the winter of the Champions League against Liverpool. It is a special match between two clubs that have long been considered major European clubs. For Jan Willem Spaans, author of the book Liverpool FC: finally the champion! the meeting can be called extremely special. As a Liverpool fan and of football in general, he is looking forward to the showdown.

At a fairly young age, the Spaniard came into contact with the Liverpool club, but the city also fascinated him. As a boy, he absorbed city impressions and then never let go. ‘I went there once as a fourteen year old boy and I was fascinated by the club and the city. That never really went away, ‘he says.

In the time after that, the writer continued to work for the club and this resulted in a book. In the end, the Spaniard wrote a great book about the championship year in which Liverpool ruled the rest of the Premier League, but this was not his first project about Liverpool. ‘First I made a small book about Virgil van Dijk, commissioned by a Belgian publisher. Then in August he said: I can say that Liverpool will be the champions this year, so follow them. He turned out to be right. Because of the crown, everything was a bit quiet, but in the end it passed. It is unique to become a champion at the time of the crown. ‘

Liverpool and Ajax situations

Looking at the current situation of Liverpool, the Spanish sees that there is something to be desired. The physical condition of the team is of particular concern, see also. ‘The number of corona infections is not too bad now, but everyone is injured. The defense is completely in ruins. Van Dijk and Gomez, the first two elections, are still months ahead of us. Matip was spared on Saturday (against Brighton & Hove Albion, ed.) Because he is the only central defender left to you. This is handled very sparingly. ‘

Jürgen Klopp will certainly have to think about filling the last positions. Everything looks fine on the left, but there is still uncertainty on the right. Robertson continues from the left, but Milner is still knocked out. Alexander-Arnold is almost back. Klopp said it would not last, although he is not being counted on yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was suddenly at base on Tuesday. If Alexander-Arnold is out of form, Williams will play. He played a weak game on Saturday. ‘

Neco Williams is a 19-year-old right-back who, despite being from Wales, has passed the Liverpool Youth Academy. As a young man he could have chosen Manchester United, but despite the fact that his father is a fan of the club, he decided not to go. Due to the injury of Trent Alexander-Arnold, he now suddenly has to be in the first team and is perhaps the weakest link in the English club on Tuesday. ‘It was definitely Saturday and I think Ten Hague sees that too. He’s smart enough to know where to put pressure. He has talent, but he is still young and will play a bad game every now and then. In a game as important as Tuesday, you’d rather not be drafted. He is still a bit wild and clumsy. ‘

On Tuesday, Ajax must show they are good enough to damage Liverpool at home. The Spaniard sees Ajax as a good team, but the word “super good” doesn’t want to be associated with it. ‘It’s not 2018/2019, but you can’t get it so well anymore. There were De Ligt, De Jong and Ziyech on that team, which I think are at a level that Ajax alone cannot attract. Ajax can raise them to that level, but you won’t bring them back. I think Neres is a very good footballer and Tadic has his moments, although I don’t like him as much as that season. Gravenberch is fantastic, what a wonderful footballer he is. I see him getting to the level of the three players mentioned, but of course it’s not that far yet. ‘

Landscaping Tuesday night: empty Anfield

Both teams will face off at empty Anfield on Tuesday. The stadium is famous in the football world. Spanish also has a special feel to it. “One of the special things about Anfield is that you’re in the middle of real life when you leave the stadium. In Ajax you are on the big page after the match. Inside, Anfield is a bit old-fashioned and not very pretty. However, the whole intimacy still makes him beautiful. You really sit with your knees in the back of the person in front of you. It also looks very small, although the capacity is about the same as the Johan Cruijff ArenA. ‘

Due to the lack of supporters, the stadium will not reach its full magic on Tuesday either. The fans are also very lacking in Liverpool, but according to the Spanish, certainly not more than in other clubs. ‘Certainly in the evening matches the atmosphere at the stadium can be very good, although it is sometimes disappointing. When it’s an important game, it makes a big difference. No one is cheering on the club now and no one is singing the club song. I think the whole match experience is a little weaker, but that’s not typical of Liverpool. ‘

Football quality will therefore rule at empty Anfield on Tuesday night. Fans will not be to encourage Liverpool and Ajax obviously cannot enjoy the support of their visiting fans. “I think Liverpool just got it, 2-1,” the Spaniard predicts. With Liverpool’s attacking power I think they are strong enough to hurt Ajax in the back. I don’t think Ajax’s defense looks very solid yet. I expect Liverpool to harm Ajax more than the other way around. ‘

Jesse and Haar (Twitter: @jesseterhaar | e-mail: [email protected])

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