AC Milan welcomed Liverpool for the final Champions League group stage game with Stefano Pioli’s side-eyeing on European competition survival. Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp’s men already booked a place Round of Sixteen spots last month.
Liverpool’s starting line-up looked completely different with Reds fringe players called upon. Goalie Alisson wearing the captain’s armband for the second time previously captaining against Porto last month at Anfield.
It was the first meeting between the two mighty European giants at San Siro. And also Jurgen Klopp’s first visit as a coach to this iconic ground.
With Rossoneri desperately looking for all three points from the game started brilliantly to take a 1-0 lead. Former Chelsea player Fikayo Tomori’s strike from the corner gave Milan fans hope of staying alive in the competition.
But the lead didn’t last long as Mohamed Salah equalized after Oxlade Chamberlain’s shot that Maignan parries into the path of Salah. A routine goal from the supreme goalscorer to make it 20 goals of the season in all competitions.
With both sides tied at 1-1, it is Liverpool who took the lead after the interval. The Reds so-called ‘legend’ Divock Origi made it 2-1 with a controlled header.
Jurgen Klopp’s second-string team didn’t lose control of the game as defensively the team performed superbly. Last season’s defensive hero Nat Phillips started alongside Ibrahima Konate in an Unusual pairing. The duo were brilliant at the back as they dominated and cancelled out every Milan attack.
In midfield, young Tyler Morton played in a deeper number six position, made his second start for Liverpool. A lot to be praised for the youngster as it seems he’s one for the future for The Reds. it’s very early to say but there are glimpses of young ‘Steven Gerrard’.
Meanwhile, the San Siro win makes it six wins from all six UEFA Champions League Group Stage games for Jurgen Klopp and Co. Now, Liverpool’s all focus goes to domestic games.
Key numbers from the game
- After Liverpool’s win at San Siro, The Reds have entered into the history books. The Six-Time European champion are the first English side to win all six group stage games in a single UEFA Champions League campaign.
- Milan’s loss against Atletico in September and now gainst Liverpool means they have lost back to back UEFA Champions League games in which they’ve scored first.
- For the second time in Milan’s history, the Rossoneri have finished last in the UEFA Champions League group stage. Previously being in 1999-00 campaign.
AC Milan 1-2 Liverpool: Post match reaction
Klopp’s reaction on the pride he feels about Liverpool being the first English team to win all six Champions League group games
Honestly, I don’t feel pride a lot in football because most of the time I expect good things to happen, to be honest, but that tonight fills me with a lot of pride. It’s an exceptional performance. I don’t mean that we won six games – the reason is especially this game because it was so good.
When asked about Tyler Morton’s performance
I don’t want to make his life more complicated than it is already with playing at such a young age for a club like Liverpool in a game like this with a performance like this, so I think we should all calm down – but it was really good tonight. And it was a big pleasure to watch the boy playing and the football knowledge, the football brain he showed tonight was absolutely exceptional.
Klopp responded whether he spoke to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and if Milan deserved to finish fourth in the group
First and foremost, I spoke to Zlatan in the tunnel; not spoke, we shook hands before the game in the tunnel. That’s it and I don’t think that’s an important story on a night like this. Do I think AC Milan deserves being last in the group? No. I like the project of AC Milan a lot, it is a good mix of youth and experience. It’s a really good team when they are all together.
Klopp’s reaction when asked on how Liverpool stopped Milan from getting the ball to Ibrahimovic
That’s football actually – that’s what you try, you organise a football team like that, that he cannot get the balls he needs or he wants. I really thought we defended exceptionally well. The plan of Milan is playing through the centre obviously, playing through the half-spaces. This is the spaces between the winger and our eights. They don’t play immediately to Zlatan, they try to bring it to the other offensive player in these spaces, and we made that really complicated because of the disciplined work of all the players.
What’s next for Liverpool
Liverpool’s next fixture will be a reunion with Former Club captain and legend Steven Gerrard. A new look Aston Villa under the new management of Gerrard will come to Anfield for Premier League matchday 16.
Aston Villa are currently on a good run of form since Gerrard’s appointment. It will be intriguing to see how the occasion goes on.