The Champions League is back at Anfield and Liverpool started in wild and chaotic fashion – and hopefully as they mean to continue, considering they won!
Liverpool 3-2 AC Milan
Champions League Group Stage (1), Anfield
September 15, 2021
Goals: Tomori OG 9′, Salah 48′, Henderson 69′; Rebic 42′, Diaz 44′
Alisson Becker – 7 (out of 10)
Had himself a lovely stroll around on a fine summer’s evening for 40 minutes.
Then beaten twice in two minutes before he’d had anything to do at all. No chance with either. Some great play around the edge of his box to punch and palm clear danger when required after the break.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7
Brilliant burst for the opening goal, into the dangerous area he’s so good in and a little deflection helping him finish.
But it has to be noted, both goals came down his side and certainly the second was a missed chance for him to intercept. A big part of the onslaught afterwards.
Joel Matip – 8
Ten minutes on the clock: Matip wins a 1v1 tackle in his own box, sprints forward with the ball at his feet, opens up midfield and plays a forward pass – Liverpool suddenly 20 yards outside Milan’s box. 30 seconds later, Salah almost makes it two.
It’s Joel Beckenbauer, Joel Gullit, Joel de Jong when this happens.
Defended very well for most of the first half, but then was bypassed twice for two goals.
Joe Gomez – 7
Great to see him back with a first competitive start since the injury on international duty last season.
Like Matip, looked fine and on the front foot for 40 minutes, then sleepwalked to half-time. Some decent interceptions second half.
Andy Robertson – 8
Every time he started running it looked like someone had fired him out of a cannon, so rapid and direct he was.
Some of his deliveries were brilliant. Some of his tackling too.
Fabinho – 9 – Man of the Match
Sadly, nobody informed AC Milan ahead of kick-off that they were not allowed the ball in midfield.
They appeared most put-out about this.
Jordan Henderson – 8
Back in the team and his running off the ball was Harvey-esque: Looped wide to leave Trent space (such as for the goal) and drove into the box (such as we rarely saw from centre midfield last season).
But again, for the goals, we have big grumblings – he lost the man and vacated the space for the equaliser. As you can tell, that five minutes of madness was very much a team-wide failing.
Absolutely walloped in the Reds’ third.
Naby Keita – 8
Quick feet, quicker thinking. So fast to close down and win the ball early on, with a fair few good dribbles into the box to admire too.
Won the ball back, moved it well, filled in for Robbo and stepped forward when he needed to.
Mohamed Salah – 8
Blammed his pen on target but not anywhere in particular, saved. One curler over, one fired effort tipped over, one lovely finish into the back of the net.
He was, as ever, hugely involved in our build-up play and best moments of danger.
Theo Hernandez is one of Europe’s best left-backs; Salah had him on toast multiple times tonight.
Divock Origi – 7
The only bigger surprise we could have received than seeing Origi in the line-up is if Klopp personally phoned any one of us TIA readers pre-game and asked us to run the line.
Scuffed an early shot off-target, which isn’t surprising given his haul of no minutes beforehand this season, but then other than a few runs down the right channel was not heavily involved until randomly turning into Andres Iniesta to assist Mo.
Diogo Jota – 7
Almost did an Alonso to net the rebound off a penalty against Milan, but Maignan is better than Dida.
In and out the game at times in terms of attacking, but got through loads of work in the left-back area too.
Sadio Mane (on for Origi, 63′) – 6 – Maybe surprised to be on the bench but got through plenty of running after coming on. Missed two decent chances to wrap it up.
Curtis Jones (on for Jota 70′) – 7 – Bent one effort just off-target, playing left of the front three.
Thiago Alcantara (on for Keita, 70′) – 7 – Neat, tidy, clever, goood.
James Milner (on for Henderson, 83′) – n/a – Vice for captain. Booked.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (on for Salah, 83′) – n/a – Right wing, big tackle.
Jurgen Klopp – 9
Can only imagine the boss lined the team up against the wall and force-fed them caffeine capsules right before kick-off – the start was unbelievably fast.
Pulled a fast one by binning off Virgil and Sadio, but given the energy in the middle third – including how quick the centre-backs stepped out to tackle – perhaps we must concede Norbert knows what he’s doing.
Still, we went in behind; then came out all guns blazing again, so once more he must have had the right words to say.
Good subs, good night overall.