Preview: Liverpool v AC Milan

Ben Twelves looks ahead to the last game of the group stage of the Guinness International Cup for Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool as they take on AC Milan. 

BOSTON, USA - Wednesday, July 23, 2014: Liverpool players look dejected after losing 1-0 to AS Roma at Fenway Park on day three of the club's USA Tour. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool v AC Milan
Saturday, 2nd August 2014, Guinness International Cup
Kick Off: 6.30pm (EST) 11.30pm (BST)

Liverpool play their final group game of the Guinness International Cup on Saturday night when they take on AC Milan in Charlotte, North Carolina. A win for the Reds would see them qualify for the final of the friendly competition – which takes place just two days later in Miami.

A 3-1 win on penalties over Manchester City on Wednesday in New York positioned Liverpool at the top of Group B. Manchester United currently top Group A.

Saturday’s game sees Liverpool meet another of the clubs historic opponents in sleeping giants, Milan, who currently sit at the bottom of the group after suffering heavy defeats against both Olympiacos and Man City, losing 3-0 and 5-1 respectively in their first two games of the tournament.

Another spectacular setting is to host the clash, which will this time be played in the picturesque Bank of America Stadium – home of NFL side Carolina Panthers. Capacity at the ground which opened in 1996 is at the highest it’s been and can now host around 74,000 fans.

Team News

The Liverpool squad thankfully appear to have come through the match against City unscathed and despite the game being played on a difficult surface, seemingly no new injuries have been added to the list of current absentees which includes new-boy Lazar Markovic, who picked up a minor knock in training but is reported to be available to take part on Saturday.

Martin Skrtel was also left out of the squad on Thursday as Brendan Rodgers afforded game time to fringe players Kolo Toure and Sebastian Coates as gaining fitness is the main aim of any pre-season schedule.

Almost the whole squad have received adequate match minutes and Rodgers is likely to continue to rotate his team in preparation for the opening day of the season, which is now just 15 days away.

Wednesday morning saw disappointing news emerge that new signing Dejan Lovren has been unable to obtain a work permit in enough time to join up with his new teammates, and as a result, he is set to remain on Merseyside instead, where he’ll train to a specialised schedule sent by the Liverpool manager and with the under 21s as he waits for the first team squad to arrive home.

Lovren’s potential centre back partner Mamadou Sakho and Simon Mignolet received the first minutes of pre-season since re-joining the squad, and both impressed for the duration of time that they were on the pitch, with the Belgian keeper saving two City penalties.

Forgotten man Coates produced an excellent display at the heart of the Reds’ defence, and the Uruguayan may have provided a little food for thought for Rodgers at a time where he is linked with a move to Spanish side Deportivo La Coruna.

Opposition    

The Rossoneri are now under the guidance of former Italian goal-poacher Filipo Inzaghi, who took over from ex-teammate Clarence Seedorf in June, and Saturday’s meeting will be the first time the two clubs have met since that forgettable defeat in Athens of May 2007, in which the new boss scored what proved to be the winning the goal.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - WEDNESDAY, MAY 25th, 2005: Liverpool's Steven Gerrard lifts the European Cup after beating AC Milan on penalties during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Inzaghi has inherited an ageing squad at the San Siro – one which finished in 8th position and 45 points behind league winners Juventus last season – meaning Milan will not participate in any European competition during the forthcoming season for the first time since the 1998-99 season where a 10th place finish meant they missed out.

The former Italian international striker named a 31-man squad for their tour of the US & Canada which includes former Premier League players Alex, Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari and Mario Balotelli, but ex-Man City wizard Robinho has been left out as he reportedly negotiates a move away from Milan. The squad also consists of one-time rumoured Liverpool transfer targets Philippe Mexes, and Colombian international Christian Zapata.

Milan will want to salvage some pride from a poor tournament on Saturday night – in a fixture that will be shown live on Sky Sports 1 – but Liverpool know if they emerge victorious they will progress to Monday’s final when they could face a rival clash against Manchester United.

TV: Live on NBC in America / Sky Sports 1 in UK

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  • ?oe Dimþleš ßloggs

    Time to get to the final and put United in their place.

    • Maninder Singh

      Specifically their larger than life manager :)

      • Nelly79

        Is he managing a football club or a detention centre? The man had CCTV installed all over the ground to watch the players….wtf!!!!

        • ?oe Dimþleš ßloggs

          Oh it’s happy days there at United lemme tell you.
          Big ugly brother is watching.

      • ?oe Dimþleš ßloggs

        The only thing large is his head! :P

    • Nathan Wright

      United have to get to the final first. Can see Madrid annihilating them!

  • ?????????????

    Another 4.30am game. Looking forward to thrashing mancs at final

    • Maninder Singh

      I hate this timing. Have to rely on alarms(and hoping I don’t snooze them and sleep again :P). Waking up at 4:30 in the morning just scr£ws up the whole day but its totally worth it :).

      • Arjan

        Now you know how I feel as a Canadian Liverpool fan. I do this all season!

        • ?oe Dimþleš ßloggs

          Fans like you are what we need more of…

          • ?????????????

            when uk goes back to winter time, its gonna be difficult to catch those cl games after 1.30 am on weekdays :(

          • ?oe Dimþleš ßloggs

            Sob! :_(

        • Maninder Singh

          Highly appreciated bro. Proud to have suppprters like you in our family.

          • Arjan

            =)

      • Dancing Mustang

        I wake up at that time here in California all season! I’m sure you can manage to do it for 1 or 2 more games.

        • ?oe Dimþleš ßloggs

          Respect! :)

        • Kid of Kop

          I also have the same problem. I stay in US too. In fear of not getting up, I dont sleep the whole night. Watch the match and then go to sleep in the morning around 9 o clock after my breakfast…

        • Maninder Singh

          Hats off to all you guys. We are proud to have supporters like you.

      • Akshay

        do this come live ??

        • ?????????????

          last game was live on sony six

        • Maninder Singh

          Generally friendlies don’t come live on tv in India but this specific tournament is covered by Sony Six and Sony Six HD.

  • Mr Toad

    Interesting to see the bank of America advertisement in your picture given that’s probably were all the Suarez money is

  • 1Liverpoolforever1

    I think it’s time to give our first team a push all together : Coutinho, Sterling, Sturridge, Markovic, Emre Can, Sakho, Skrtel (since Lovren is not coming to the US unfortunately). I hope to see a strong staring eleven and maybe make lots of changes in the 2nd half.
    BTW do anyone know why Flanagan hasnt been playing so far ?

    • Bloody from Serbia

      Flano’s not playing because BR has an opinion and knows what to expect from him. Johnson and Kelly play because BR wants to see what to do with them, Kelly didn’t play last season and needs some games..

      • Rizplanet

        Yes i think so too… But now we know exactly what to expect from GJ too ;-) so might as well play flano for some time and get him match fit… He didnt play at the wc as well…

        • Bloody from Serbia

          We’ll now we know what to expect from GJ, after this games.. BR gave him a chance to prove him wrong..

    • CRLyons

      they mentioned on the Redmen TV (pre-AC Milan build up show) that he isnt fit yet, but who knows

  • PMA

    This is a must win! I’m hoping Lambert could get his first goal, also some minutes for Ibe and Suso. They could be regular first team this season

  • R Mariscal

    This game is a must win for Liverpool. Also more minutes for Suso and Ibe. Hoping for Markovic and Coutinho to link. Finally, I wish Lambert could get his first goal.

    • Forrest Ellis

      I actually hope that Lambert scores his first in a league match, like the first match against Manchester City. It would mean so much more than just a preseason match.

    • DisDoesn’tMakeSense

      I don’t think it’s a must win at all – the final doesn’t matter. Like you say we just need to play those few who BR is not sure about featuring next season like Suso and those who need a bit more time in a Red shirt like Can, Marko and Lambert.
      If we don’t reach the final it just means we go home early and have more time with Lovren.

      • ?oe Dimþleš ßloggs

        More time to love Lovren? heh

        • Abyss

          Give me all your Lovren!

          • ?oe Dimþleš ßloggs

            At least buy me a drink first sailor!

      • Rizplanet

        I’d love to put in a team of kids in the final and watch them kick the sorry utd a$$

    • http://clivewedderburn.com/ blud red

      I dont think its a must win, as much as must try and see if we can stop teams from exploiting the gaps in our defence.

      man city out-played us for most of that game. we showed resolve and desire to come back. what interesting was the game changing substitutions of lucas, sterling and can.

      i have to admit, buy these two defenders, and i’ll have to start seasoning my hat so i can eat it. add a top class CF and this will have been the best pre-season of any club in the PL.

      we have game changers on the bench. now for that X factor.

    • Bloody from Serbia

      Every game for Pool should be a must win.. It’s what BR brought with him and we should stick with it..

  • ?oe Dimþleš ßloggs

    Brilliant! Well done!

  • Rizplanet

    Interesting, harry….

  • Akshay

    citty match was sloppy .. it was not a great win .. but glad they won

  • Jay Wright

    I was hoping to see Suso and Ibe get a look in against Premier League opposition without anything at stake last game, but hopefully they’ll get a run out amongst more of the senior players during this game.

    A look at Can in the holding midfield role, in the place of Gerrard, with Henderson and Suso (instead of Coutinho) ahead of him would be nice.

  • joe mckeown

    Very good in depth Article.

  • Jason Le Page

    Allen’s performance is going to be annoying some of our ‘special’ fans