After finally capturing the Premier League, Liverpool start their 2020-21 UEFA Champions League campaign hoping to reclaim the cup they last won in 2019. They face a difficult test in Dutch giants Ajax, Atalanta of Italy who have earned plaudits for their performances in recent years and Champions League newcomers FC Midtjylland of Denmark.
This will be the first time European giants Ajax and Liverpool meet in European competition since 1966 in the second round of what was formerly known as the European Cup. The first leg in dense fog on the 7th December 1966 saw Ajax win 5-1 at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam, before the second leg at Anfield was a 2-2 draw. Liverpool have travelled to the Johan Cruyff Arena before however, competing in the pre-season 2003 Amsterdam Tournament.
Erik ten Hag’s side came 1st in the Eredivisie last season but weren’t crowned champions, after the season was ended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In last season’s UEFA Champions League, they came third in their group behind Valencia and Chelsea, before losing to Getafe in the Round of 32 of the UEFA Europa League. Ajax lost Hakim Ziyech to Chelsea, Donny van de Beek to Manchester United and Sergiño Dest to Barcelona in the summer but have made some shrewd replacements.
Liverpool and Atalanta have not faced off before, so this will be their first visit to the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia in Bergamo.
Atalanta, led by Gian Piero Gasperini finished third in last season’s Serie A. They also reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League for the first time, losing 2-1 to eventual finalists Paris Saint-Germain and have been able to retain the bulk of their squad.
With FC Midtjylland having a relatively short history, only being formed in 1999 – Liverpool have not yet played the Danish club. This will therefore be the first to the MCH Arena in Herning for Liverpool.
The club led by former Danish international Brian Priske, won the Danish Superliga for third time in their history, finishing 9 points ahead of FC København. This will be there first time competing in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League, already battling two rounds of qualifying and winning 4-1 against Slavia Prague over two legs in the play-off round. The squad is largely unchanged from season, with Danish winger Pione Sisto returning to the club after four years in Spain with Celta Vigo.
2020-21 UEFA Champions League Group D Fixtures
21st October 2020 (21:00) – Ajax 0-1 Liverpool (Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam)
21st October 2020 (21:00) – FC Midtjylland 0-4 Atalanta (MCH Arena, Herning)
27th October 2020 (21:00) – Liverpool 2-0 FC Midtjylland (Anfield, Liverpool)
27th October 2020 (21:00) – Atalanta 2-2 Ajax (Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia, Bergamo)
3rd November 2020 (21:00) – FC Midtjylland v Ajax (MCH Arena, Herning)
3rd November 2020 (21:00) – Atalanta v Liverpool (Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia, Bergamo)
25th November 2020 (21:00) – Liverpool v Atalanta (Anfield, Liverpool)
25th November 2020 (21:00) – Ajax v FC Midtjylland (Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam)
1st December 2020 (21:00) – Liverpool v Ajax (Anfield, Liverpool)
1st December 2020 (21:00) – Atalanta v FC Midtjylland (Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia, Bergamo)
9th December 2020 (17:55) – Ajax v Atalanta (Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam)
9th December 2020 (17:55) – FC Midtjylland v Liverpool (MCH Arena, Herning)
All of the above times are GMT (UK time).