Jürgen Klopp thinks it is great that he can take on Ajax with Liverpool in the Champions League on Wednesday. The German trainer already met the team from Amsterdam twice in 2012 in the ball with Borussia Dortmund and has fond memories of it.
‘Ajax played exceptionally a year and a half ago’
“The matches against Ajax are among the highlights of my period as coach of Borussia Dortmund. That is purely personal. I already thought at the time: you want to play against this young and attractive team”, Klopp says on the site from Liverpool.
Dortmund won the away game in the Johan Cruijff ArenA at the time with 1-4 and triumphed at home with 1-0. Of the Ajax players who then took action, Daley Blind is the only one who is now also under contract in Amsterdam. Klopp also sees that in the past eight years a lot has changed at Wednesday’s Champions League opponent.
“Ajax has adjusted its philosophy a bit and brought in more experienced players, by including Blind, Dusan Tadic, Quincy Promes and Davy Klaassen. There is now a mix of experienced players and young promising talents.”
In 2012 Borussia Dortmund was too strong for Ajax with 1-4. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Klopp saw the “new philosophy” of Ajax already bear fruit in the 2018/2019 season. The team of trainer Erik ten Hag surprisingly reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, but due to the dramatic elimination against Tottenham Hotspur, Ajax missed a meeting with Liverpool in the final battle.
“A year and a half ago Ajax really played exceptionally in the Champions League”, Klopp recalls. “The way they played was just ‘wow’. We didn’t run into each other at the time through Tottenham, but now it happens.
The match between Ajax and Liverpool starts on Wednesday at 9 p.m. in the Johan Cruijff ArenA. The other teams in group D are Atalanta and FC Midtjylland.