MILAN TO OVERCOME THE REDS?

One of the most finely poised groups enters the final matchday with all to play for. AC Milan have their fate in their hands but will need to overcome a perfect Liverpool side.

 

The Rossoneri are making the latest of late dashes for the knockout rounds. Having lost their first three games, they picked up four points from the next two. The victory over Atletico Madrid was one of brilliant perseverance and attitude which has helped their domestic form immensely.

 

Milan are currently leading Serie A and head into this encounter with two wins on the bounce. The form of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and late bloomer Junior Messias has been greatly uplifting but to lose Simon Kjaer to injury has been tough. However, the return of Fikayo Tomori has been helpful along with Mike Maignan back in between the posts.

 

Jurgen Klopp’s side have been unstoppable so far, in the Premier League as well as in this group. 15 points from five games have already secured their qualification while they sit just a point behind Manchester City in second. The Reds have scored 13 goals since their sole defeat of the season to West Ham at the beginning of November. Mo Salah has been in prime form, leading in both goals and assists alongside being ably supported by Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota.

 

The midfield partnership of Fabinho and Thiago have been flourishing while Jordan Henderson has emerged as a credible forward threat too. The fullbacks are in a league of their own, all of which provides enough indication of another likely win on Tuesday night.

The odds are stacked against Milan as Liverpool have looked imperious in the Champions League. The returning giant of Italy will probably not make it through to the next stage but if they do, it will be a major bonus for the progress Pioli has made with them. Much like the bonuses you can avail on every UCL match on 22bet bonuses on which you can track live odds too.

TEAM NEWS

As mentioned above, Kjaer is out for the season. Davide Calabria and Ante Rebic are the other major absentees along with Olivier Giroud.

 

PROBABLE LINE-UP: Maignan; Kalulu, Tomori, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Kessie, Tonali; Leao, Diaz, Saelemaekers; Ibrahimovic

 

Given how they are safely through and with an exhausting run of fixtures on the horizon, Klopp may look to make a few changes to the team.

 

PROBABLE LINE-UP: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Konate, Tsimikas; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Milner, Thiago; Mane, Origi, Salah

 

GAMECHANGERS

It is hard to look past the influential nature of Ibrahimovic in games but it is the growing threat of Leao which has made Milan a combative force. The wide attacker has five goals and two assists across all competitions, while his overall play has been the most impressive.

 

Leao’s direct running, pace, and linkup play with the striker has been causing problems all season long. Liverpool’s backline will have their hands full dealing with Ibrahimovic’s physicality which means the right-back has to be very wary of Leao’s runs in behind. Furthermore, he also likes to come inside and play centrally when approaching the penalty area so as to overload the box.

 

Leao’s crossing has not been the most effective at times, which is why Pioli now wants him to play the ball to feet however much he can. His unerring finishing is also a bonus now, with Milan certainly needing to score.

For Liverpool, it is hard to look past Salah as their go-to man nowadays. The history making Egyptian has been firing on a different level since the start of this season. It has not only been about the frequency of his goals (19 in all competitions) but the sheer genius behind some of them.

 

Manchester City, Watford, Everton were left completely bamboozled by his trickery and sublime mastery of the football as they were left hapless. Against Atletico, Salah cut inside three defenders one after the other before shooting which led to the opening goal. Milan can thank their stars at having Tomori back but with Theo Hernandez playing so far up the pitch, there will be spaces in behind to exploit for the speedy Salah.

 

It is given that if Salah makes his way inside the penalty box, the chances of scoring increase manifold. Furthermore, his sharp eye for passing means that he can assist goals (nine so far) from the deep too which will worry the entire backline.

 

PREDICTIONS

Even a win does not guarantee Milan’s passage, with Porto a point ahead of them currently. Nevertheless, Pioli knows he has to win and as Atletico Madrid are in the same boat as them, there will be no quarters given. Meanwhile for Liverpool, one can be certain the Reds will know just play casually but bring the fight to their Milan as is emblematic of Klopp. FootTheBall predicts a 2-0 win for Liverpool.

also read