Milan at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp’s team laid siege to Milan’s goal from the start, taking a deserved early
lead when former Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori deflected a cross from Trent
Alexander-Arnold into his own net.
Liverpool, who missed the chance to double their advantage when Mohamed Salah’s
penalty was saved by keeper Mike Maignan, were stunned when Milan, after being
completely outplayed, struck twice in the space of seconds right on half-time to take
the lead through Ante Rebic and Brahim Diaz.
Klopp’s side regrouped to subject Milan to intense pressure once more after the break
and were rewarded for their stirring comeback, Salah making amends for his penalty
miss by equalising from close range after 48 minutes when he was superbly set up by
And as the traffic became one-way once more with Anfield turning up the volume,
Jordan Henderson rifled home his first Champions League goal for seven years in the
69th minute when Milan could only partially clear a Liverpool corner to settle this
richly entertaining Group B opening game.
Liverpool somehow managed to transform what was, for the most part, a superb
performance into a nervous night at Anfield against a Milan side who were outplayed
for almost the entire game.
They opened up in a manner that suggested this opening group game would be done
and dusted by half-time as Liverpool created a succession of clear openings that
resulted in one goal and should have brought more.
Milan were handed a reprieve when Salah suffered a rare blemish from the spot with
only his second failure in 19 attempts, striking his effort too close to Maignan after
Ismael Bennacer handled Andy Robertson’s shot.
Anfield was stunned when Milan hit Liverpool twice right on the break to somehow
end the first half in the lead, but it was a harsh lesson learned as they got careless in
defence and were shown that any moments when you switch off will be punished in
the Champions League.
There was still a sense of inevitability about Liverpool’s victory and, in the manner
reminiscent of so many of their wins in recent years, it was sheer weight of pressure
that finally wore Milan down, even if the winner did come from an unlikely source
as Henderson’s crisp drive gave Maignan no chance.
It was no more than Liverpool deserved but it was also an early warning that
sloppiness is very dangerous, even against a side that had barely been out of their
own half in the first 45 minutes.
In the end, it is the win that counts in a very tight Champions League group which
also contains Porto and the dangerous La Liga champions Atletico Madrid. Those two
blemishes apart, Klopp will be delighted with so much of Liverpool’s performance.