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|Match Result and Both Teams to Score||Odds|
|Liverpool and Yes||+185
|Tie and Yes||+425
|AC Milan and Yes||+825
Liverpool only made one signing in the summer, bringing in Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig. The French center-back has yet to feature this season and appears to be at least third in the pecking order, behind Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip. Harvey Elliott has been a prominent figure in the first team of late following his successful loan spell at Blackburn Rovers last season, but the 18-year-old faces an extended spell on the sidelines after suffering a serious ankle injury at the weekend. As such, Liverpool’s team for the campaign ahead is pretty much the same as it was last year.
We are only a few weeks into 2021/22 but Liverpool’s quiet summer has already been questioned. Jurgen Klopp has had to fend off multiple questions about the lack of transfers. Pundits have opined that Liverpool could be left behind by Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City, each of whom strengthened in the market. Some predicted that the club’s failure to ‘make a statement in the summer window would come back to bite them.
That may well turn out to be the case, but Liverpool’s start to the season suggests the criticism of their strategy is misplaced. The Reds have amassed 10 points from 12 so far, equal to or more than the three teams who are deemed to have had better summers. Van Dijk and Matip are fit again. The Dutchman, along with Fabinho, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson Becker and Jordan Henderson, signed a new long-term contract this summer. Liverpool might have missed out on the glamour of a big-money signing or two, but things are looking pretty good where it matters: on the field.
The Reds could benefit from having a settled squad, both in the Premier League and in Europe. Klopp has been at the helm since 2015 and has given Liverpool a clear identity. He led the club to Champions League glory two years ago, having finished as runners-up the previous season. No one should be writing off Liverpool in this competition.
Real Madrid are the only club on the continent to have won more Champions Leagues than AC Milan, who have lifted the famous trophy seven times. Yet despite their considerable pedigree in the tournament, this is the first time since 2013/14 that the Rossoneri are participating in the Champions League. It has been a long wait for fans of a club that reached three finals in five years in the 2000s, winning two of them.
The current Milan team is not as strong as that which went all the way in Europe’s premier competition in 2003 and 2007, but strides have been made in recent years. Milan finished second in Serie A last term, their highest placing and points tally (79) since 2011/12. Stefano Pioli has made Milan competitive again, and they are back on a stage befitting their status as one of Europe’s biggest clubs.
Milan have a fine blend of veterans and younger players right now. Their recruitment policy has shifted towards the latter, with Mike Maignan, Fikayo Tomori, Sandro Tonali and Fode Ballo-Toure (the quartet’s average age is 23) all penning permanent deals with the club in the summer.
Yet Milan also brought in the 34-year-old Olivier Giroud in July, and the evergreen Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still going strong at 39. Further experience is provided by Simon Kjaer and Alessandro Florenzi, but this squad is predominantly made up of those in their early to mid-20s – and that can only be a good thing.
Milan will not be daunted by a trip to Anfield, even though they go into Wednesday’s match as underdogs. They have been drawn into a much tougher group that Pioli would have wanted, with Atletico Madrid and Porto also eyeing a place in the knockout phase. Not being favorites has its advantages, though, particularly as Milan have been absent from the Champions League for several seasons.
The Rossoneri have scored seven goals so far this season, a tally bettered by only Inter, Roma, and Lazio in Serie A. The campaign is still in its infancy, but it is notable that Milan were particularly prolific away from the San Siro last term: no team in the Italian top-flight scored more goals or picked up more points on the road in 2020/21. It was not even close: Milan amassed 49 points away from home, 10 more than next-best Inter and Atalanta.
Still, home advantage will help Liverpool on Wednesday and a front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota is bound to cause Milan problems. Back a win for the Reds with goals for both teams.
|Liverpool vs AC Milan Information|
|Teams||Liverpool vs AC Milan|
|Location||Anfield, Liverpool, England|
|Time||Wednesday, 15 September 2021, 15.00 PM EDT|
|How to watch||Paramount+|
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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