Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Who is and isn't travelling as Liverpool finalise preparations for Ajax

Liverpool have a few selection dilemmas entering Wednesday night’s Champions League game away at Ajax.

It is made both easier and harder following updates on who is and isn’t travelling with the first-team to Amsterdam.

New signing Thiago Alacantara is expected to be unavailable while Joel Matip is also a major doubt.

Matip, 29, went for a scan on Sunday after Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Everton at Goodison Park.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 17: Andre Gomes of Everton (R) challenges for the ball with Joel Matip during the Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park on October 17 2020 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Emma Simpson/Everton FC via Getty Images)

According to The ECHO, there is no lasting damage detected in a leg muscle although the Cameroonian defender was absent from Tuesday’s session at Melwood.

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With Matip and Joe Gomez currently Liverpool’s two only senior central defensive options available following the long-term injury to Virgil van Dijk and the summer sale of Dejan Lovren, manager Jurgen Klopp is unlikely to risk the former Schalke defender when the Reds kick-off their inaugural European bout of the season.

 

It means Fabinho is expected to start at centre-back with both Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips on standby ahead of the trip to Amsterdam.

The same precautions are set to be taken with summer addition Thiago who was injured following a poor challenge from Richarlison which subsequently warranted a straight red card during the enthralling derby draw at Goodison.

Thiago’s involvement will likely see Georginio Wijnaldum return to the starting XI in the Spaniard’s place, while Naby Keita’s recent return to training following a negative COVID-19 test result could see him return into the mix.

New signings Kostas Tsimikas and Diogo Jota are expected to travel and both could feature in some capacity against the Eredivisie champions.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 20: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Fabinho of Liverpool during a training session ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group D stage match between Liverpool FC and Ajax Amsterdam at Melwood Training Ground on October 20, 2020 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

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Including Van Dijk, there are three big omissions. Including Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who is still in the rehabilitation phase of his recovery from injury.

The real issue is in defence, with both Matip and Van Dijk absent from the trip to Holland.

This leaves Gomez as the only player available who is one of Klopp’s naturally suited central defensive options.

Fabinho is the obvious choice to partner the Englishman although Williams and Phillips are also options. Throwing either of the aforementioned young defensive duo would be a big call from Klopp especially given the calibre of the opponent.

Wijnaldum and club-captain Jordan Henderson are also options in defence given both have been utilised in that specific area by Klopp in recent years.

Klopp is expected to provide a further update on the fitness and wellbeing of his players when he faces the media on Wednesday evening at 6 pm.

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