Liverpool To Make Minced Meat Of Milan
Liverpool face AC Milan in a repeat of one of the most famous Champions League finals in recent history as both clubs head toward the conclusion of their pre-season tour of America.
Raheem Sterling’s late strike earned Liverpool a 2-2 draw against Manchester City in New York on Wednesday night after Stevan Jovetic had twice put the Premier League champions in front either side of a Jordan Henderson strike.
The Reds then earned a bonus point to see them top their International Champions Cup group thanks to a penalty shootout win which was sealed by substitute Lucas Leiva.
It was a second goal for Sterling in the pre-season tournament with the England winger’s first earning his side a 1-0 win over Olympiakos in their opening game of the series in Chicago.
Brendan Rodgers’ side were beaten by the same scoreline in their first game across the water by Roma after the Reds had won one and lost one of their pre-season games prior to the beginning of their American tour when they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Brondby in Denmark before reversing the scoreline to earn a victory over Preston North End.
Milan have continued where they left off after suffering one of the worst season’s in their recent history last term, when they lost 13 times in Serie A to finish outside the European spots in eighth. Former striker Filippo Inzaghi took the reigns this summer after Clarence Seedorf’s ill-fated tenure ended but looks to have take over a club in turmoil.
Milan did win their opening two games of the summer against lower league Italian opposition, claiming 2-0 victories over both Monza and Renate but their tour of the USA has been disastrous as they suffered heavy defeats to both Olympiakos (3-0) and City (5-1).
Despite little riding on the results their performance levels have been awful, especially given the fact that many of their first team squad have taken a large part in the games.
Adam Lallana is out of the rest of Liverpool’s pre-season games and will also miss the opening to their Premier League campaign with a knee injury with Fabio Borini also absent with a shoulder problem the Italian suffered against former club Roma.
Rodgers’ has selected strong teams in each of their last two fixtures though and the likes of Sterling, Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge and Phillippe Coutinho expected to start. Long term injury victims Jose Enrique and Sebastian Coates have both returned to action in pre-season too and should feature again too.
Inzaghi has all of his World Cup performers available, and may opt to line out with former Premier League star Mario Balotelli in his starting line-up up front.
Head to Head
The only two times these sides have faced couldn’t have come in more important fixtures, with both taking place in the Champions League finals of 2005 and 2007. Liverpool memorably came back from going three goals down in the first half of the 2005 final in Istanbul to level the scores ten minutes into the second period and won the subsequent penalty shootout 3-2.
Milan got their revenge in Athens two years later, however, when a brace from their current boss toward the end of either half earned them a 2-1 victory and the trophy for a seventh time – the last time the Rossoneri got their hands on European football’s most prestigious piece of silverware.
It’s impossible to look beyond Liverpool against a Milan side who really don’t look like they want to be part of the competition
or perhaps had other interests in visit to the land of the free.
They should at least want to avoid another hiding but Rodgers’ side look to getting into gear now and should be taken at -1 on the handicap and earn a final spot with it.