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AC Milan 0, Liverpool 2: Reds Gegenpress Their Way to Dominant Win

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Liverpool bounce back against AC Milan, winning two-nil after losing to Chelsea

Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images

AC Milan 0
Liverpool 2 Origi 58', Firmino 72'

After a disappointing loss to Chelsea, Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool managed to bag a comfortable two-nil victory over their erstwhile European rivals, AC Milan.

Jürgen granted Wijnaldum and Studge their preseason bows, starting both, though surprisingly, it appeared Liverpool trotted out a 4-1-4-1 instead of their usual 4-2-3-1 and Klopp put Milner and Trent Alexander-Arnold in as full backs. Within minutes, the Reds showed intent, as good defensive work near half field sprung Mané who put a dangerous cross into the far post that Gabriel did well to eventually gather.

For the majority of the first half, Milan were content to keep men behind the ball and break, but every foray amounted to nothing and rarely worked Mignolet, who yet still managed to provide a scare or two with the ball at his feet, not to mention exhibit an alarming lack of decision-making prowess after mulling for ten seconds over where to send a goal kick.

All things considered, the Reds looked good money for a win throughout the first half. Mane missed a decent opportunity after being put through on goal - opting for power over placement; Sturridge should've done better from just left of the spot but struck weakly with his right foot; Lallana passed up a clear shooting opportunity early on; and Liverpool generally threatened though the channels and pressed as one would expect of a Jürgen-led team.

Milner showed why he might be the answer to our FB depth issues, and Alexander-Arnold did much to endear himself to those that might be prone to believing in the power of youth. Liverpool should have been up at least a goal, and one might be forgiven wondering if the Reds might rue missed chances. Mane was the star of the half, playing offense, defense, and generally putting himself about and doing his best Steph Curry interpretation. Klavan also looked promising all half

With the arrival of the second half, Klopp removed Mane, Studge, Coutinho, Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Lallana, sending on Firmino, Origi, Stewart, Clyne, Markovic, and Alberto Moreno. Yet again, Liverpool appeared not to quite adhere to a rigid 4-2-3-1, though that formation best approximated the Liverpool set-up.

Firmino looked to push the pace at every opportunity: making a particular point to play dead balls as quickly as possible. Milan offered some fight back, looking to actually attack this half and perhaps give a game of it, but they never looked like scoring. On 58 minutes Liverpool finally got their goal after Origi absolutely wrecked his defender, buying himself a yard of space and slotting it into the far corner from a the left of the box. Even the notoriously reticent Steve Nicol was forced to smile and offer a hint of praise for the strike.

On the 62nd minute Ojo came on for Milner and immediately looked bright. Pushing the ball at every opportunity and generally asking the question as to why he shouldn't be part of the match day squad this coming season. After Origi was perhaps unfairly called offside for scoring a second in the 70th minute, it was Ojo's hard work and initiative that led to Firmino scoring in the 72nd minute: cutting in on a driving run from right, Ojo's deflected ball was perfectly read by Firmino, and with the ball just wide of the six, Firmino calmly slotted home.

In the 74th minute, Klopp removed Henderson, Lovren, and Klavan (who yet again looked very, very competent) in favor of Branagan, Randall, and Wisdom. Thereafter, there wasn't much to write home about but there were some great flashes: Markovic smoked his defender to reach a ball and create a corner (pace!); Jürgen showed some mid-season piss & vinegar, eviscerating poor Brannagan for giving the ball away too loosely; Ojo was fantastic; and Bobby removed the top knot after scoring.

A good victory, and one that hopefully assuages the jittery folks. Also, a special shout to the Reds in attendance who provided a great voice to the contest.