With 13 Champions League trophies between them, Liverpool and AC Milan kick-start their group with a big game in front of a packed Anfield crowd. They ended up playing out an absolute thriller, with LFC ending up getting a narrow 3-2 win after pulling off an impressive comeback in the second half.
Jurgen Klopp’s side started the game at a blistering pace & got the lead in the 9th minute when Trent Alexander-Arnold’s barged into the box and saw his attempt deflected into the back of the net by Fikayo Tomori for an own goal – giving Liverpool an early lead.
The Reds got a penalty 5 minutes later, but Mo Salah saw his penalty saved superbly by Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan – keeping the game well poised. Milan grew confidence because of that and got their equalizer just before half-time, with Ante Rebic being found alone inside the box and curling the ball into the goal in the 42nd minute.
Milan kept going at LFC’s shaky defence after that and took a stunning lead in the 44th minute, when Brahim Diaz finished off an electric move to make it 1-2! The Reds started the second half like they did in the first half and got the equalizer in the 49th minute – with Salah redeeming himself and sneaking one past the keeper to make it 2-2!
Captain Jordan Henderson then completed the comeback in the 69th minute, scoring an almost Stevie-G goal with a thunderous strike to make it 3-2. The Reds did well to defend their lead after that, kicking off their Champions League campaign with a win & maintaining their unbeaten start to the season.
Liverpool Player Ratings vs AC Milan
Jurgen Klopp (6.5) –
Klopp experimented with his starting XI in this one and that almost blew up in his face. Not starting Van Dijk nearly proved fatal as Milan scored twice past his Gomez-Matip backline in the first half. Keita also couldn’t do as well as he’d hope for. However, Klopp’s half-time team talk was clearly top-notch as it motivated LFC to score twice and complete the comeback in the second half.
The gaffer ensured his side played some high-octane soccer & entertained the Anfield crowd with their moves. However, he has to stop experimenting with his lineups in the next games to top this difficult group.
Alisson (6.0) –
Alisson was unable to really do much about the two goals, but at least ensured his side didn’t concede in the second half. Pulled off a few nice saves towards the end too ensure his side got a slender win.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (7.5) –
Trent’s confident start to the game was rewarded in the 9th as he made an impressive run into the box before his attempted pass was fortunately deflected into the back of the net. Some of Trent’s crosses were excellent as ever, but he was caught wrong-footed defensive a times which cause his defence a few problems.
Joe Gomez (5.0) –
Gomez does his chances of starting in future no good with some poor defensive work for both Milan goals. It was his poor positioning that allowed Rebic to be onside for both the goals – helping him orchestrate the strikes. Doesn’t look well-linked with Matip. Settled down in the second half – winning some key interceptions and aerial duels – but the performance wasn’t good enough to warrant a regular place right now.
Joel Matip (6.0) –
In Van Dijk’s absence, Matip is the leader in LFC’s defence today. Almost got a goal in the 8th when his powerful header was saved well. Then sees another header saved in the 20th. His passing work was impressive today and Matip also made some clutch challenges to strave away danger. Looked a bit cautious without his partner-in-crime alongside him.
Andy Robertson (7.0) –
Robbo started the game with a high intensity and it was his attempt which won LFC the penalty which Salah missed. However, alongside with Gomez – Andy also played Rebic onside to allow him to score the equalizer. Tried his best to deny the second with an initial goal-line save, but saw Brahim score from the rebound.
Struck a shot straight at the keeper in the 60th. Maintained a real high-octane style all through the game & really grafted through the 90 minutes.
Fabinho (7.5) –
After his heroics against Leeds United at the weekend, Fabinho looks very confident today. Despite making some nice interceptions, Fabinho’s struggling a bit against Milan’s pace & couldn’t stop Rafael Leao from bursting into the final third to help set up the second goal.
Apart from that slight error, Fabinho was rock-solid in midfield – making 4 interceptions, winning 8 key duels & 3 tackles as well as passing the ball around really well.
Jordan Henderson (8.0) –
Henderson comes in for Thiago and is working hard to help Liverpool control possession. Did so pretty well but was the victim of some boo’s from the fans for ‘not getting involved’ enough. Well, he shut those ones up with an amazing goal to repay Klopp’s faith in playing him further forward.
Apart from his amazing goal, Hendo’s passing was impressive as well – as he ensured to maintain a high intensity style for Liverpool and continue to urge them to move forward for more goals. Kinda like a Gerrard performance.
Naby Keita (5.5) –
Can Keita bring his heroics in training into this game? Not really. Keita struggled to create definitive chances in the first half and opened up too much space for Rafael Leao to assist Rebic’s goal. Tried some fancy stuff which really didn’t pay off, but at least Keita was very energetic throughout his appearance.
Divock Origi (7.0) –
A surprise start for Origi, who looks sharp with his movement early on. Made a really clever chipped pass to send Salah through for his goal. Ran his socks off throughout his performance, which ended up causing an injury that forced him to be subbed after the hour-mark.
Diogo Jota (6.5) –
Jota gets an early chance to score, but his whipped attempt is deflected wide in the 5th. Fluffed a few more half-chances later on as well. Nearly gets LFC’s third in the 68th after making space for himself inside the box, but sees his shot saved superbly. Subbed quickly after that.
Mo Salah (7.5) –
Salah starts the game looking sharp but misses his big chance to get his first UCL goal of the campaign, seeing his powerful penalty saved well. When has that last happened? Tries to make up with an impressive shot from outside the area in the 29th – but his shot is saved well again.
Finally gets his goal in the 48th, cleverly sneaking past the Milan defence and chipping one past the goalkeeper. Salah worked really hard after his early error, covering a lot of ground & tormented the defenders with his unpredictable runs.
Sadio Mane (6.0) –
Had a big chance to score late on after being played through on goal, but poor decision-making wasted a good chance.
Curtis Jones (6.0) –
The young midfielder almost got a goal minutes after coming, but saw his left-footed curler go wide. Added some much-needed aggression to his side’s midfield late on.
Thiago Alcantara (N/R) –
Alcantara just ensured his side saw through the game and dominated some late possession to see off the win.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (N/R) –
Didn’t really do much in the attack in his short cameo.
James Milner (N/R) –
Milner was booked in his short cameo but at least helped guide LFC past the finishing line.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Henderson produced a near-vintage Steven Gerrard performance & his goal was reminiscent of the screamers Liverpool’s former captained scores. He gets the MOTM for his inspired performance.