Liverpool AC Milan report

REPORT: LIVERPOOL 3-2 AC MILAN - HOSTS WIN FROM A HENDERSON SPECIAL FOR THE AGES AS MILAN'S BEST EFFORTS NOT ENOUGH ON THE NIGHT

hosted , 14 years on from their last meeting in the Champions and 16 years after the “Miracle of Istanbul” transpired. The faces had changed but the passion of the two behemoths have not.

The Reds started brightly, deploying the high press and harassing the opposition whenever they had the ball. Robertson’s advanced nature was causing problems while Jota and Matip had a shot/header blocked and saved respectively. That domination told as they went ahead within 10 minutes. Alexander-Arnold burst into the box unmarked and his attempt at crossing ricocheted off Tomori to give Liverpool the lead.

 

 

It got worse for Milan just four minutes later. Robertson’s cross struck the stretched arm of Bennacer and the referee pointed to the spot. However, Salah’s strong shot was well-saved by Maignan before denying Jota on the rebound. Nevertheless, it was all Liverpool as the away side struggled to get out of their half. Though Milan were seeing more of the ball, Maignan was being kept busy regularly.

 

 

Just when it looked like they were heading for halftime with a 1-0 lead, Liverpool were rocked at the back. Firstly, some good linkup play saw Leao slip in Rebic who was being played onside by Gomez. The Croatian made no mistake to level things up and it got even better.

Milan’s steaming run forward saw Hernandez pull the defenders away with his cross which allowed Rebic to shoot. Robertson got back to make a sliding block on the line but was helpless to stop Diaz from tapping it home as the Rossoneri took the lead heading into halftime.

 

 

Milan thought they were 3-1 up within a minute of the restart but a short corner routine went wrong as they were caught offside before Kjaer scored. The madness continued as Liverpool went right up the other end to score. A neat one-two between Salah and Origi saw the Belgian flick the ball over the Italians’ defence and with Maignan stranded, Salah made no mistake.

 

 

Once again, Jurgen Klopp’s men were in the ascendancy after the goal as Milan were sitting off more. Liverpool getting forward more like they did in the first half with Maignan being tested a few times. However, he was helpless to stop them going in front. A corner for the Reds was cleared only as far as Henderson who smacked it into the net from the edge of the penalty area.

 

 

The game lulled into a steady affair as Milan sporadically pushed forward, looking for Giroud who had come on to be the target man. However, Liverpool managed the game well enough and were astute on the ball to take the victory on opening night.

Here are the three key takeaways from the match:

LIVERPOOL DO IT THE HARD WAY

It was a rollercoaster match for the home side who made things complicated for themselves. An intense start was causing Milan all kinds of problems as they played ridiculously high up the pitch over the opening 15 minutes. Though they did go ahead, a second goal was missing after Salah chose power over placement from his penalty.

 

 

Despite controlling the half for large parts, a two minute period just before the break saw the lead collapse. Some lax defending combined with Gomez being a little rusty also helped.

Nonetheless, their dominance began once again in the second half and after surviving an early scare, retook their lead through some neat play and a truly crisp hit from Henderson. This time they kept their foot on the pedal and did not let Milan come back to take all three points.

 

MILAN LEAVE EMPTY HANDED

Stefano Pioli’s team were caught on the backfoot to start the game with as they were giving the ball away far too cheaply. That led to more defensive work than they would have expected which ultimately saw them fall behind. Maignan made a smart double save to keep the lead at a minimum before they kind of settled into a rhythm. However, what came next would have surprised most.

 

 

Two goals in two minutes caught Liverpool out and Milan would have felt that they needed to continue that kind of play for the second half. A chance to double the lead went wrong before two moments of genuine quality saw them fall behind once again. Maybe Maignan could have done better for the equalizer but he was helpless for the clincher. A spirited showing in nevertheless.

 

MORE TO COME?

In a group also consisting of Porto and Atletico Madrid, a win on the opening night was always going to be crucial. Liverpool sit atop the standings after a win for the ages while Milan will take heart from a solid performance. With five more matchdays to go, one can only expect more of the same in the future.

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