AC MILAN 1-2 LIVERPOOL: MATCH REVIEW
Liverpool went to the San Siro with a rotated side and still beat Serie A leaders AC Milan. The hosts took the lead through Fikayo Tomori, before the relentless Mo Salah equalised. Divock Origi headed home the winner early in the second half for his second match winning contribution of the week. We review the game.
You can find player ratings from the game here:
° The lineup. Jürgen Klopp chose to make 8 changes to the side that started the last 2 games. Alisson, Salah and Mané were the only ones to keep their place as fringe players got their chance to shine. The only slight surprise was seeing both Mané and Salah in the XI, with our predicted lineup having just one of them from the start:
° Solid start. The Reds took control of the game from the very first whistle, stroking the ball about with confidence. What was most impressive was the workrate to hunt in packs to win the ball back whenever possession was surrendered. It was a very impressive start by a side that had never before played together.
° Milan breaking the deadlock. After completely dominating the game, Liverpool conceded their first corner and Tomori tapped home to give them the lead against the run of play. Minamino failed to attack the corner at the near post and it almost caught Alisson out.
Romagnoli got a slight touch on it and with the ball bouncing right infront of the keeper, he could only parry it into the danger area. The English defender was quickest to react, poking home just before the half hour mark.
° The equaliser. The men in yellow didn’t panic, if anything they clicked through the gears. Origi created half a yard for himself and tested Maignan before Ox also saw a shot blocked. Ox then skinned Kessié and fired at Maignan from range, the keeper’s parry fell to the deadliest man on the planet and parity was restored.
° Ox back to his best. That typified Oxlade-Chamberlain’s performance on the night. He was tireless with his running, and dangerous when he picked the ball up in the half spaces. He ran the furthest distance (12.47km) of any Liverpool player on the night and completed the most dribbles (3).
He was unlucky not to score late on when he skied his effort after a lovely flick had opened the Rossoneri defence up. In his defence, the ball did bobble right before he took his shot as he got clattered into by Hernandez and Maignan. There was a worrying moment when he went down holding his knee but he shook it off.
° Another Origi winner. Divock Origi was on hand to head home after brilliant work from Mané. It marked his second winning goal in a matter of days after his heroics at Wolves. Officially awarded the UEFA MOTM award, Divock enjoyed himself on the night. He led the line well and showcased good hold up play throughout.
° Monstrous Konaté. The 22 year old was absolutely magnificent last night, pocketing the enigmatic Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He was first to every ball, quicker, stronger and generally in charge of every single situation. The 40 year old didn’t have a kick, and that was down to Ibou, whose partnership with Phillips shone.
° Brilliant performances. There were several terrific performances on the night. Nat Phillips being one that defies belief. The Bolton native has improved so much in such a short space of time. Neco Williams continued his renaissance (he’s also made a massive jump in development this season).
Tsimikas battled well throughout. Morton continues to look like a seasoned pro and not a 19 year old just starting out. Minamino worked his socks off, as did Mané, and Salah got yet another record breaking goal. Speaking of Mo Salah…
° Scintillating Salah. The Egyptian netted his 20th of the season (already!) with a deft volley into the roof of the net to break another handful of records. He’s strengthening his hand with every passing week in terms of a new contract. You wonder when the club will finally move heaven and earth for the best player on the planet.
° Welcome return. Naby Keita and Joe Gomez marked their return from injury with a half hour cameo in the second half. It is a further boost to the manager’s options as we enter the crucial festive period. Now it’s just Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones and Roberto Firmino left in the treatment room.
° Well coached team. The sign of a well coached team is one that has a discernible style of play. The sign of a world class team, is one that sticks to it’s principles even with several changes to the team. That’s what we saw last night. A well drilled Liverpool team, tigerish in the press and devastating in attack.
Even with 8 changes the style didn’t change. I expected a disjointed performance but it was anything but. What a job Jürgen Klopp and his coaches are doing! The German usually gets praise for his man management and emotional connection with the fans but what is understated is the acute tactical mind he has, in imprinting his ideas on his side, reserve or mainstays.
° Six out of six. It feels right that Liverpool have become the first English team to ever win all six group games in the Champions League. The Reds are European royalty and they underlined that claim by absolutely wiping out the group of death. They just went to the home of the Serie A leaders and bossed them with a second string side!
° On to the knockouts. The Round of 16 draw will be held on Monday as Liverpool await their next opponents (or victims, if you will). As it stands, the Reds could be drawn against Sporting Lisbon, PSG or Inter Milan, with the rest of the groups to be completed tonight.
No team would want to draw this side. They’ve sent out a terrifying message to the rest of Europe by doing what they’ve just done to the Portuguese champions, the Spanish champions and the Serie A leaders. These are the days, not to be taken for granted by the Liverpool faithful.
° On to Villa. Since Liverpool’s first defeat of the season against West Ham, the Reds have won six matches in a row across all competitions, scoring 17 times and conceding just twice. It’s dare I say it, the response of champions to a setback. They’re heating up at just the right moment, with the games coming non-stop.
On Saturday is the small matter of a reunion with Steven Gerrard and his rejuvenated Aston Villa. You’d expect this side to put aside the emotion of the occasion and get the job done. There’s a title race upon us after all.