Five former Liverpool stars to play for Ajax including club legend and huge flop

Liverpool and Ajax have more in common than just a Champions League group.

Two of Europe's most-storied sides will meet for only the fifth time at Anfield this evening (Tuesday 13 September) in a match that could go a long way to determining the make-up of Group A. Liverpool are looking to bounce back from last week's 4-1 mauling by Napoli, while Ajax are riding the crest of a wave following their 4-0 win over Rangers.

Both clubs have had plenty of memorable nights in Europe – and they've shared more than a few of the same players over the years, too. Daily Star Sport takes you through five stars who have played for both, starting with perhaps the most famous of all.

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Luis Suarez

There aren't too many players who can be deemed a success at both clubs, but Luis Suarez certainly can. The Uruguayan was plucked by Ajax from Groningen in 2007 and went on to score 111 goals, provide 69 assists and bite one PSV player in 159 appearances for the Dutch giants.

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That earned him a £22.8million move to Liverpool, where he joined that other generational talent, Andy Carroll, during the 2011 January transfer window. Suarez maintained his impressive goalscoring record at Anfield, but controversy continued to follow him.

During the 2011-12 season, the FA found Suarez guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra and slapped him with an eight-match ban and a £40,000 fine. The following campaign he was involved in another biting incident, this time with Branislav Ivanovic. He received a ten-match ban and one month later said he wanted to leave the club, prompting Arsenal's famous £40,000,001 bid.

Despite his desire to leave, Suarez remained on Merseyside for one final season, scoring 31 goals in 37 games in all competitions as the Reds narrowly missed out on their first ever Premier League title to Manchester City. The fiery forward brought his three-and-a-half years at the club to an end in July 2014, joining Barcelona for a fee of around £65million.

Ryan Babel

Ryan Babel had the world at his feet after bursting onto the scene as a youngster at Ajax. The Dutchman earned rave reviews for his tricky wing play and won his first Eredivisie title at the age of just 17.

He continued his upward trajectory until 2007 when Liverpool came knocking with a bid of £14million. It was an offer that was too good to turn down for both Babel and Ajax.

Ultimately, Babel failed to consistently produce the goods in his three-and-a-half-seasons at Anfield. However, he still made some pretty important contributions during his time at the club.

He proved the difference against Arsenal in the quarter-finals of the 2008 Champions League, coming off the bench to win a penalty and score as the Reds edged through 5-3 on aggregate. He also scored the winner in a 2-1 win over Manchester United.

But even by his own admission, Babel's time on Merseyside was a failure, and he was sold to Hoffenheim for a fee of £8million in 2011. Two later reunions with Ajax didn't go to plan either and Babel now plays in the second division of Turkish football with Eyupspor.

Christian Poulsen

Roy Hodgson's time in charge of Liverpool isn't remembered particularly fondly by many Reds supporters, not least because he signed players like Christian Poulsen.

A regular for Denmark and having made 48 Serie A appearances for Juventus in the two seasons before, Poulsen didn't look a bad buy on paper. But games aren't won on paper, and the Danish midfielder didn't win many fans for his performances in Hodgson's woefully under-performing team.

Hodgson's sacking in the middle of the campaign meant less opportunities for Poulsen under Kenny Dalglish, who sold him to Evian at the end of the season. He turned up against at Ajax 12 months later, making 80 appearances and winning back-to-back league titles in his two years in Amsterdam.

Jari Litmanen

Finnish ace Jari Litmanen made a name for himself at Ajax in the mid to late-1990s as a key member of Louis van Gaal's famous team that won three straight Eredivisie titles and reached two Champions League finals in a row.

In 1996, he was the competition's top scorer with nine goals. However, Litmanen was prone to injuries and his frequent visits to the treatment table earned him the "Man of Glass" nickname. He departed Ajax for Barcelona in 1999 before joining Liverpool in 2001.

Although he only made 43 appearances in two seasons with the Reds, the flying Finn is still remembered fondly by the club's fans. Litmanen returned to Ajax in 12 months later and was a key player once again as Ronald Koeman's side reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League in 2003.

However, injuries continued to plague the forward and he left the Dutch giants for a second time in 2004 to join Finnish club Lahti.

Jan Molby

According to Liverpool's own official website, Jan Molby, otherwise known as Big Jan or the Great Dane, is regarded as one of the finest passers of a football in the club's history.

Signed from Ajax for a snip at £250,000, Molby went on to make 277 appearances for the Anfield outfit between 1984 and 1996, winning three first division title and two FA Cups. Despite being a midfielder, the 59-year-old enjoyed a very healthy goalscoring record on Merseyside, netting 60 goals at a rate of roughly one every five matches. That tally includes 42 penalties.

He left Liverpool as a legend in 1996 to join Swansea City and still represents the Reds today in Masters tournaments in the UK and around the world.


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