The Reds rotate their squad heavily. Only starting XI regulars Alisson, Sadio Mane, and Mo Salah find themselves on the team sheet at kick-off.
Will the Reds stay perfect? Can AC Milan pull out a win and advance to the knockout rounds?
Taki Minamino’s poor corner clearance (what clearance?) sets up the AC Milan opener just before the 30th minute. However, Mo Salah pounces on a deflection 7 minutes later to level the match at 1-1 going into halftime. That makes 30 consecutive matches where Liverpool have scored.
Eventually, Divock Origi does what Divock Origi does: scores game winners. A header off a keeper deflection gives Liverpool the 2-1 win.
The Reds go through perfect to the Round of 16.
Liverpool Player Ratings at AC Milan
Jurgen Klopp (8) –
Happy to see Klopp rotate, although Mane and Salah need to rest. Hopefully they’re among the first subs. Rewarded for starting Big Div. Defense did well. And rotated Salah and Mane off early. Well done.
Alisson (7) –
Always feel better with Alisson between the sticks. Nothing to really do about the opener. Minamino whiffed and threw him off. Otherwise had it mostly easy. The goal wasn’t on him. 7
Neco Williams (7) –
Has looked like he’s gotten his confidence back. Heady interception to spring a counter in the 19th minute. Steller defensive play (3 tackles and well positioned) with 2 shots on goal.
Ibra Konate (7) –
Another UCL start for Konate. Absolutely manning up Zlatan. Defending him well twice in opening 30 minutes. Doesn’t see as much of the ball as VVD does, but fills in well otherwise. Won 3 aerials. Had some tackles. Two shots on goal.
Nat Phillips (7) –
Heck yeah! Big Nat gets the start. Superb slide tackle early to stifle an attack. Won his aerials of course. Good showing. Hopefully earns more minutes off this one.
Kostas Tsimikas (7) –
Salah’s new bff has been exceptional this season. Dispossessed in 9th and lucky not to be punished for it. But otherwise filling in as good as always for Robbo. Took four corners. Won three tackles. A couple lapses in concentration but otherwise great.
Tyler Morton (6.5) –
The 12 year-old has looked like the real “Gini replacement” in waiting. Defensive work rate has been phenomenal. Does all the dirty work like Gini but with little credit (like Gini). All in all ok. Imagine how good he’ll be when he turns 19!
Takumi Minamino (6) –
Klopp trying him out in an attacking midfield role today. Ugh. Taki Lad. Come on. We’re all rooting for you! But whiffs on clearing a corner, setting up Milan’s opening goal. Recovered well after that. Connecting play was solid. Saw 5% possession which is the most he’s had in a Liverpool match. Connected 87% of passes. Couple of shots. Subbed late.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (7.5) –
Playing with lots of confidence of late. Would love to see him score / assist today. Playing with purpose and confidence. Love to see it. Clever movement and shot leads to a deflection and Salah’s leveler. Won’t show up on score sheet, but he did all the hard work on that one. Was really everywhere. Five shots on goal. Over 5% possession with 88% of passes completed.
Sadio Mane (5.5) –
Pretty quiet. One shot on goal. No real impact. Off in the 65th.
Divock Origi (7) –
Gets the start, though probably won’t score until the 94th minute. Curious to see how his hold up play works today with Salah and Mane (and Taki in support behind him). Awesome drag back and shot in 33rd minute almost gets Liverpool level.
Then…in the 55th minute…DIVOCK ORIGI HAPPENED. All he does is score game winners. Origi puts Liverpool ahead 2-1. Subbed in 80th.
Mo Salah (7) –
Buzzing around. No signs of tiring. Pounces on a deflection from an Ox shot, calmly burying it to level Liverpool in the 36th. That’s 7 UCL group stage goals for Salah, a new Liverpool record. Comes off in the 64th.
Naby Keita (6) – On in the 64th for Salah. Connecting well. Sets up Ox for a shot right away.
Joe Gomez (6) – On in the 65th to provide defensive cover. Does just that.
Fabinho (NR) – On late for Big Div.
Conor Bradley (NR) – The 18 year old comes out late. This is what he looks like, btw.
Max Woltman (NR) – Welcome to the Champions League, Max! The 18 year old gets a brief run out to close the match. Just in case you’re wondering what he looks like, here you go!
MAN OF THE MATCH
Overall Ox was the best player on the pitch today. He deserves the honors.