Liverpool and AC Milan delivered on the return of proper Champions League nights at Anfield, with the hosts emerging deserved victors after coming back to win 3-2.
Liverpool 3-2 AC Milan
Champions League Group Stage (1), Anfield
September 15, 2021
Tomori OG 9′ (assist – Alexander-Arnold)
Salah 48′ (assist – Origi)
Henderson 69′ (assist – none)
With the Kop in ferocious voice, the Reds began fast, with Andy Robertson almost laying on an opener for Origi within four minutes, just putting too much on his cross even for the most instinctive of finishers.
Milan could not get the ball out of their own half as Liverpool made a brilliant start, and Trent Alexander-Arnold had soon made it 1-0 after a one-two with Mohamed Salah, firing home via a deflection to spark choruses of ‘the Scouser in our team’.
From one full-back to another. A fired-up Robertson then won a penalty, with his volley handled by Ismael Bennacer, but unfortunately, Salah’s spot-kick was saved well by Mike Maignan.
The Reds remained on top throughout, with Maignan busy as he thwarted Joel Matip with a header and Salah with a strike that was heading for the top corner, but there was a sinking feeling of wasted opportunities as the momentum shifted.
Milan somehow went 2-1 up before half-time, with both of their goals coming from Liverpool’s right as Alexander-Arnold fell asleep – the first through Ante Rebic and the second courtesy of ex-Man City midfielder Brahim Diaz.
HT: Liverpool 1-2 AC Milan
Liverpool did not need to change much at the break, aside from finding a clinical edge, and within three minutes of the restart, Salah had levelled after a brilliant dinked pass from Origi.
The noise levels inside Anfield rocketed, and the Reds responded in kind, recapturing the verve that makes them such an enthralling side to watch on European nights.
After a promising display that brought an assist for Origi, the Belgian was forced off through injury, which prompted the introduction of Sadio Mane and the reformation of the first-choice front three.
The third goal came from an unlikely source, though, as an interchange between Matip and Diogo Jota won a corner, with Jordan Henderson thundering home a stunning half-volley from 25 yards out to make it 3-2.
Substitute Olivier Giroud had a couple of half-chances which Alisson dealt with well, with the tempo of the game slowing slightly after Liverpool finally took the lead again.
With the Champions League permitting five changes, Klopp sent on James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with seven minutes left to play, which allowed the Kop to serenade Henderson with a standing ovation after his incredible strike.
The tide truly turned, Liverpool defended well – with some Milner magic – as they held on for an emphatic win that fit the occasion perfectly.
TIA Man of the Match: Fabinho
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (POL)
Subs not used: Kelleher, Adrian, Van Dijk, Konate, Phillips, Tsimikas, Minamino
AC Milan: Maignan; Calabria, Kjaer, Tomori, Hernandez; Kessie, Bennacer (Tonali 71′); Saelemaekers (Giroud 62′), Diaz, Leao (Florenzi 62′); Rebic (Maldini 83′)
Subs not used: Tatarusanu, Jungdal, Ballo, Romagnoli, Kalulu, Gabbia