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Liverpool 4, AC Milan 1 - Match Recap: A Fun Second Coming of Preseason Action

The Reds are back in action in preparation for the second half of the season

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool scores the first goal at Al Maktoum Stadium on December 16, 2022 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Mohamed Salah of Liverpool scores the first goal at Al Maktoum Stadium on December 16, 2022 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Photo by Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Liverpool 4 - 1 AC Milan

Liverpool: Salah 5’, Thiago 41’, Nuñez 82, Nuñez 88’
AC Milan: Saelemaekers 29’


The Reds are back in action in a friendly to prepare for the second half of the season, which will recommence just before Christmas. Liverpool opened with their (probably) more senior line-up, with Caoimhín Kelleher, Joël Matip, Joe Gomez, Andy Robertson, James Milner, Harvey Elliott, Thiago, Mohamed Salah, and Roberto Firmino on the pitch — all of whom would not be a surprise on a starting line-up in a regular season game.

We also get to see some of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has seen his minutes limited

First Half

Mohamed Salah had the ball in the back of the net early after he and Matip linked with delightful close control in the AC Milan box, providing the type of clever goal that shows just how talented each player is with the ball at feet. Salah’s finish showed confidence, but Matip’s intelligence, too, emphasized what he brings to the side on the ball. It was a brilliant example of breaking down a tightly manned penalty area.

Robertson would prefer you didn’t have a look at AC Milan’s goal, which did not cover him in glory — his attempt to head the long ball might well have stopped him from recovering well. The Milan goal was certainly against the run of play, but the lack of coverage in defense was evident; the Reds conceded from a simple long ball, which will frustrate everyone involved.

Following a Salah effort ruled narrowly offside, a clever interchange between Milner and Robertson almost led to an Oxlade-Chamberlain goal in the final ten minutes of the half, and the Reds followed this smoothly created chance with sustained pressure.

Thiago had all of us — and especially Oxlade-Chamberlain — in raptures with a ridiculous goal from distance, which he placed nonchalantly into the corner of the goal from the edge of the D. The Spaniard made a difficult return ball from a corner look remarkably routine.

The goal was brilliant, but also brilliant to see was the return of the Salah-Elliott interchange on the right; their clever movement won the corner in the first place.

Second Half

Perhaps surprisingly, Klopp made no changes to start the second half. Up until the hour mark, the Reds gave us more of the same, with clever link-up play in tight spaces in the final third, and a good save from Kelleher that made you revisit the “why is he not Ireland’s number one?” conversation.

At 60’ Liverpool brought on substitutions, with Kostas Tsimikas, Adrián, Fabio Carvalho, Melkamu Frauendorf, Naby Keïta, and Darwin Nuñez (back from a disappointing World Cup) finding time on the pitch.

Further changes occurred (Nathaniel Phillips, Bobby Clark, and Jarell Quansah) in what was shaping up to be a half very much describable as “very much getting the minutes in” when compared to the more exciting first half.

Out of nowhere, though, Keïta won the ball in Liverpool’s final third, and young Bobby Clark played one of the best balls you’ll ever see, cutting out the AC Milan defense and putting Nuñez in on goal. The Uruguayan scored with a sharp, low finish, and all was calm again.

In the final 10 minutes Ben Doak came on to complete the full rotation of the starting XI, and Doak almost made an immediate impact with a shot pushed wide by the woodwork. He did make his impact a few minutes later, pushing aggressively forward with a run that ended with a simple assist for Nuñez’s second — a striker’s goal, which might have been offside if we’re all honest.


I’m gonna be honest: I did not realize there was going to be a shootout until the commentators said so midway through the second half. What lark! Can there be a shootout without peril? Who knows.

Very fun to watch sans peril, if we’re honest, but less fun when Liverpool seem to decide that they’re unbothered — won the match, haven’t we?

Best Liverpool pen: Bobby Clark. He and Fabio Carvalho both took the best ones, but Clark’s assist means he gets all the plaudits.

Funniest pen: Darwin Nuñez. We all — including AC Milan goalkeeper Antonio Mirante, who gave us a wry smile — know that had no business going in.

Best moment: Happy Oxlade-Chamberlain post,atch. Hasn’t had an easy go of things, has Ox.

Shootouts without peril are somewhat fun, I can say now.

Final Thoughts

Well that was fun, wasn’t it? It’s always nice to watch the Reds without peril, and each of the Liverpool goals was a different type of brilliance — particularly the first three. Goals for Salah and especially Nuñez feel like exactly what was needed, as well.

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