Liverpool: Tomori (OG) 9’, Salah 49’, Henderson 69’
AC Milan: Rebic 42’, Dias 44’
Sadio Mané has been dropped for...Divock Origi? Well, the most Divock thing ever would be to score a big goal or two completely out of the blue. So, please do that? Elsewhere, Virgil van Dijk sits this one out, with Joe Gomez taking his place.
As for the match, although AC Milan are a big name, these Reds would expect to win any group stage opening match at home, and today is no exception.
Liverpool start the match brightly, and manage to carve a couple of really good chances in the opening five minutes. Andy Robertson, in particular, is giving Milan loads of problems down the left flank. The Scottish fullback does well to tee up Origi, who flashes a first-time effort wide of the target, and a moment later he picks Jota out for another good opportunity inside the box.
The visitors are really struggling with Liverpool’s press. There have already been several errant passes into touch and easily intercepted long balls, leading to counter attacks.
GOAL! It’ll likely go down as an own goal after a wicked deflection excellently chips the keeper, but it still counts! Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah played a 1-2 near the touchline, which freed Trent to run into the box, drive at the keeper, and attempt to square to Jota at the back stick (which was then turned into the net).
Penalty! Robbo took on a shot from inside the box, and it was blocked by a defender’s outstreched arms. It was confirmed after a quick VAR review.
Missed! The typically reliable-from-the-spot Mo Salah stepped up, blasted it, but not nearly far enough into the corner. The keeper guessed right, but it was a relatively easy save, in the end.
Well, that was an exciting few minutes! These Reds are absolutely irrepressible right now. Hopefully they can build on this early advantage, while they’re on top. How dominant have Liverpool been this half? It took Milan nearly 30 minutes to get their first shot.
Goal. Against. The. Run. Of. Play. Ooof. Milan has created nothing this entire first half—it was literally their second shot—and while I’m writing this...
Gomez and Matip played a really good half. Until they didn’t. Those were two, gigantic gut punches, just before the half. And if Liverpool fail to get any points from this match, they’ll only have themselves to blame for once again not taking advantage when they were on top.
Liverpool start the half by...nearly conceding a third. Milan won an early corner, and put the ball in the back of the net, but thankfully they were ruled offside.
GOAL!! And now it’s Liverpool’s turn to return the sucker punch! Divock Origi gets a rare assist, with a shockingly lovely chipped pass over the backline for Mo Salah to run onto. The Egyptian King manages to stay just onside, and finishes first time with the outside of his glorious left boot.
Origi appeared to have taken a bit on a knock, and after a pretty solid hour, he’s replaced by Sadio Mané. Otherwise, Liverpool have reasserted their control of the match, although they haven’t created much, either.
GOAL!!! JORDAN BRIAN HENDERSON BREAKS THE DEADLOCK WITH A SCREAMER! Liverpool win a corner, which is initially headed clear by the Milan defense. Did I say headed clear? More like nodded down for Hendo to bang it in from the edge of the box. No stopping that one!
Immediately after the goal, Klopp brings on Thiago and Curtis Jones for Naby Keita and Diogo Jota, respectively. And with about 10 to go, Klopp uses his last two subs, bringing on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner for Salah and Hendo.
Both sides look winded in the closing minutes, and Liverpool are not out of the woods yet. Milan create another scare from a set piece, but Alisson is quick to react, smothering a dangerous nodded down header, flashed across the box. On the other side of the coin, Mané had a chance to put the game to bed, but couldn’t get the ball out from under his feet, to get the shot away on a 1-v-1 chance.
James Milner goes into the book with a professional foul. Drink. And a minute later takes the ball into the corner and wins a foul. What a lad.
Final Thoughts and Man of the Match
Big, big result to start the Champions League campaign, with shades of the 3-2 win over PSG a few seasons ago (minus late game dramatics from Bobby Firmino). Although much of Liverpool’s misery was of their own making tonight, they overcame two conceded goals, equalized early in the second half, and found a winner. In the 69th minute. Nice.
The result is especially big after Atletico Madrid and Porto drew in the other match. Lib’pool, top of the group, Lib’pool Lib’pool top of the group.
Who was Liverpool’s Man of the Match against AC Milan?