By Aristo Dotse

Ghana international attacking midfielder Mohammed Kudus makes his UEFA Champions League debut on Wednesday night and it couldn’t have come bigger than that for him as his Dutch and European giant side Ajax host fellow European heavyweight Liverpool at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam in their opening Group D fixture.

Kudus joined Ajax just before the start of the season from Norwegian side FC Nordsdjaelland in a multi-million deal and is already a hit in Amsterdam where he has won the man-of-the-match awards in his first two games in the league. And now he has the chance to not only showcase the precious talent that made Ajax to pay €9m for him but also announce himself to the whole of Europe and fans around the world as Ajax come face-to-face with Liverpool for the second time in any encounter.

The 20-year-old has come in at the Johan Cruyff Arena as a replacement for his fellow African from Morocco, Hakim Ziyech, who has moved on to Chelsea after shining in Ajax’s brilliant return to the top of European of football in the past two seasons. Ziyech was the four-time champions of Europe’s main man as the play-maker in the team’s drive, and Kudus, also a left-footer like Ziyech and similar to him in many ways, is already continuing from where Ziyech left.

The new Ajax number 20 play-maker, a product of the Right to Dream Academy in Ghana, is a big fan of Liverpool’s Spanish play-maker Thiago Alcantara but as he lines up tonight to face the current Premier League and world champions and immediate past champions of Europe, Kudus won’t be facing his idol, at least for now, as Thiago misses the game through injury sustained in the Premier League against Everton at the weekend.

No matter what happens tonight, Ajax are favourites alongside Liverpool to qualify for the next stage, with Atalanta Bergamo – the surprise package of last season’s Champions League and Serie A campaigns – strong outsiders ahead of Danish side FC Middtjylland. And this would give Kudus more platform to show what he is capable of in this season’s campaign which kicks off for him on a mouth-watering note against Liverpool – who are tipped as one of the teams to win the Champions League this term.

Credit: Soccernet Newspaper