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Midtjylland vs Liverpool: UEFA Champions League background, form guide, previous meetings

Midtjylland complete their first UEFA Champions League group campaign at home to six-time winners Liverpool, who will finish first in Group D.

Liverpool's Roberto Firmino tangles with Midtjylland's Anders Dreyer
Liverpool's Roberto Firmino tangles with Midtjylland's Anders Dreyer Getty Images

• The Danish side, already certain to come fourth in the section, got their first ever point in the competition on Matchday 5 thanks to a 1-1 draw at 2019/20 quarter-finalists Atalanta; on the same night Liverpool beat Ajax 1-0 to open up an unassailable four-point advantage at the top of the table.

• Second-half goals from Diogo Jota (55) and Mohamed Salah (90+3), the latter a penalty, earned Liverpool a 2-0 win in the reverse fixture at Anfield on Matchday 2.

Form guide
Midtjylland

Highlights: Liverpool 2-0 Midtjylland
Highlights: Liverpool 2-0 Midtjylland

• The Danish debutants lost their first four games in the UEFA Champions League group stage; after a 4-0 defeat against Atalanta on Matchday 1, their heaviest European home reverse, they lost at Liverpool and home (1-2) and away (1-3) against Ajax before finally getting their first point on the board at Atalanta last time out.

• Midtjylland are the fifth Danish club to take part in the UEFA Champions League group stage, and the first since Copenhagen in 2016/17.

• Their only previous experience of a European group stage was in 2015/16, when they finished runners-up in their UEFA Europa League section before losing in the round of 32 to Manchester United.

• Champions of Denmark for the third time in 2019/20 – all those titles coming in the last six seasons – Midtjylland have already made history in 2020/21; they had never previously won more than one UEFA Champions League tie in a season.

• Midtjylland were 1-0 winners at Ludogorets in this season's one-off second qualifying round tie before a 3-0 home defeat of Swiss side Young Boys in the next stage. They then got the better of Slavia Praha in the two-legged play-offs (0-0 a, 4-1 h), three of their second-leg goals coming from the 84th minute onwards.

• The club's two previous forays into the UEFA Champions League both proved short-lived. On their 2015/16 debut they won both legs against Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar in the second qualifying round (1-0 h, 2-0 a) before being eliminated by APOEL on away goals in the next stage (1-2 h, 1-0 a); in 2018/19 they lost 2-1 at Kazakhstan's Astana in the first leg of their second qualifying round tie, going out by the same aggregate scoreline.

• This season's results mean Midtjylland have won six of their 15 UEFA Champions League matches, qualifying included (D3 L6). The second-leg defeat of Slavia was the first time they had won without keeping a clean sheet.

• In 2019/20 Ulvene played only one European tie, going down 7-3 to Scottish side Rangers in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round (2-4 h, 1-3 a).

Highlights: Atalanta 1-1 Midtjylland (2 mins)
Highlights: Atalanta 1-1 Midtjylland (2 mins)

• Midtjylland have won only three of their last nine home European matches (D2 L4).

• The Danish side have won only three of their last 13 European games (D3 L7), all three victories coming in qualifying this season.

• Midtjylland are one of four teams making their group stage debut in 2020/21; Krasnodar, Rennes (both Group E), and İstanbul Başakşehir (H) are the others.

• Four of Midtjylland's seven games against English clubs came in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League, when they beat Southampton in the play-offs (1-1 a, 1-0 h) before a famous 2-1 home win in the first leg of their round of 32 tie against Manchester United was overturned with a 5-1 defeat at Old Trafford.

• Midtjylland have therefore won their last two home games against visitors from England having lost the first, 1-0 to Manchester City in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup second qualifying round second leg after conceding an 89th-minute own goal. They subsequently bowed out 4-2 on penalties.

Liverpool

Highlights: Liverpool 1-0 Ajax (2 mins)
Highlights: Liverpool 1-0 Ajax (2 mins)

• The Reds won their first three games in this season's competition without conceding, beating Ajax (1-0) and Atalanta (5-0) away and Midtjylland at home. A 2-0 defeat by the Italian side on Matchday 4 was their first group stage reverse at Anfield since October 2014, but progress and first place were assured by another 1-0 win against Ajax last time out.

• Liverpool were champions of England for the 19th time in 2019/20, their first league title since 1990.

• The Reds are in the UEFA Champions League group stage for the 13th time; they have only failed to progress to the last 16 or further three times.

• Jürgen Klopp's side also finished top of Group E in 2019/20, recovering from losing their opening fixture 2-0 at Napoli to advance with 13 points ahead of the Italian club. They sealed progress on Matchday 6 with a 2-0 victory at Salzburg.

Virgil van Dijk celebrates Liverpool's 2019 UEFA Champions League win
Virgil van Dijk celebrates Liverpool's 2019 UEFA Champions League winVI-Images via Getty Images

• Liverpool had won their sixth European Cup in 2018/19, but their defence of the trophy came to a halt in the round of 16, Atlético de Madrid winning 1-0 in Spain and, after extra time, 3-2 at Anfield. The latter result ended Liverpool's 25-match unbeaten home run in Europe (W18 D7), since a 3-0 loss to Real Madrid on 22 October 2014, and was their first aggregate defeat in 12 two-legged knockout ties.

• Liverpool have won 13 of their last 20 European fixtures (D2 L5).

• The Reds have also won their last four away fixtures in the UEFA Champions League group stage, having lost the previous four.

• This is only Liverpool's sixth game against a Danish club; Matchday 2 was their first since they lost 1-0 at home to Brøndby in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup second round second leg, going out by the same aggregate scoreline. They had eased past OB in their sole previous tie, in the first round of their victorious campaign in the 1983/84 European Champion Clubs' Cup (1-0 a, 5-0 h).

• Dan Eggen's goal for Brøndby in that 1995 tie is therefore the only one Liverpool have conceded in their five games against clubs from Denmark.

Links and trivia
• Sadio Mané played 90 minutes as Southampton were held 1-1 at home by Midtjylland in the UEFA Europa League play-off first leg in August 2015; he was an unused substitute in Saints' 1-0 loss in Denmark.

• Mané set up the winner as Salzburg won 2-1 at Danish club Esbjerg in the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League group stage before scoring twice in the Austrian club's 3-0 home success.

• Midtjylland head coach Brian Priske played in England for Portsmouth in 2005/06, making 30 Premier League appearances. Two of those came against Liverpool (0-3 a, 1-3 h), while he was also a late substitute in a 2-1 loss to the Reds in the last 32 of the FA Cup.

Two-minute highlights: Liverpool 0-2 Atalanta
Two-minute highlights: Liverpool 0-2 Atalanta

• Priske helped Denmark to a 3-2 friendly win against England in Manchester on 16 November 2003.

• Anders Dreyer was a Brighton player between 2018 and joining Midtjylland this summer. He made his club debut in a goalless draw against Liverpool's Under-23 side in a Premier League 2 game on 8 October 2018 but never made a first-team appearance.

• Mikael Anderson was an unused substitute in Iceland's 1-0 loss at home to England in the UEFA Nations League on 5 September.

Latest news
Midtjylland

• Andrew Mabil became only the fourth Australian to score in the UEFA Champions League with his goal on Matchday 4, after Craig Moore, Mark Viduka and Scott McDonald. McDonald, in Celtic's 1-1 group stage draw against Manchester United on 5 November 2008, was the last Australian to find the net in the competition.

• Midtjylland have won 11 of their 21 matches this season in all competitions; four of their six defeats have come in Group D.

• The Danish champions lost their first league game of 2020/21, 2-0 at SønderjyskE on 11 September, but have won seven of their subsequent ten games (D2 L1), including Saturday's 2-0 success at Velje.

• Midtjylland have suffered four defeats in their last 15 league matches (W8 D2), most recently 4-1 at Nordsjælland on 31 October.

• The Wolves were 4-0 winners at home to Copenhagen on 8 November, their biggest league victory since beating the same opponents by the same scoreline on 12 May 2019.

Two-minute highlights: Ajax 3-1 Midtjylland
Two-minute highlights: Ajax 3-1 Midtjylland

• Midtjylland were 1-0 winners away to second-tier side HB Køge in the last 32 of the Danish Cup on 11 November.

• Midtjylland have won six of their nine home games in all competitions, the exceptions the defeats by Atalanta and Ajax and a 0-0 draw with AaB on 28 November.

• Midtjylland kept five clean sheets in their first six games in 2020/21 but managed none in the subsequent eight, conceding 18 goals, before registering four in their last seven outings.

• Jens-Lys Caluste and substitute Joel Andersson both made their senior international debuts in Sweden's 2-0 friendly loss in Denmark on 11 November.

• Japhet Sery and Gustav Isaksen both started as Denmark concluded their successful UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying campaign with a 1-1 draw in Romania on 17 November.

• Evander returned from illness to play 89 minutes on Saturday, although Cajuste, whose last appearance came on 22 November, is still out of action.

Liverpool

Reaction from Liverpool's hat-trick hero Jota
Reaction from Liverpool's hat-trick hero Jota

• On 12 November, Andy Robertson captained Scotland as they beat Serbia on penalties after a 1-1 draw in their UEFA EURO 2020 play-off final in Belgrade to reach next summer's finals.

• Georginio Wijnaldum scored twice in the Netherlands' 3-1 UEFA Nations League victory against Bosnia and Herzegovina on 15 November and then hit a late winner in a 2-1 victory against Poland three days later. He was also on target for Liverpool on Sunday, scoring his 26th Premier League goal, 15 of them for the Merseyside club, and the 23rd at home.

• On 15 November Sadio Mané's late winner gave Senegal a 1-0 victory at home to Guinea-Bissau that booked their place in the 2021 CAF Africa Cup of Nations finals; the same day, Naby Keïta was on target in Guinea's 1-1 draw against Chad.

• Roberto Firmino's goal gave Brazil a 1-0 victory against Venezuela in 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying on 13 November, when a Takumi Minamino penalty earned Japan a 1-0 friendly win against Panama.

Curtis Jones scored the only goal against Ajax last week
Curtis Jones scored the only goal against Ajax last weekGetty Images

• Also on 13 November, Curtis Jones scored his first goal for England's Under-21 side in a 3-1 UEFA European Championship qualifying win against Andorra.

• Alisson Becker and James Milner suffered hamstring strains in a 1-1 draw at Brighton on 28 November and have not played since.

• Joe Gomez damaged a tendon in his left knee in training with England on 11 November and underwent surgery the following day. He is expected to be sidelined for several months.

• Trent Alexander-Arnold was substituted just past the hour against Manchester City on 8 November with a calf problem; he returned as a substitute on Sunday.

• Keïta had to be replaced early in the second half of the 3-0 win against Leicester on 22 November with a thigh injury; he also made his return as a replacement at the weekend.

• Virgil van Dijk is facing a long spell on the sidelines after sustaining a serious knee injury at Everton.

• Thiago also picked up a knee problem at Everton and has not played since.

• Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been out since 26 July due to a knee injury.

• On 8 October Klopp celebrated five years at Liverpool manager; his 60% win ratio at that stage is the best in the club's history.

• Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Van Dijk, Thiago, Henderson, Mané and Salah are among the candidates for UEFA.com fans' Men's Team of the Year.