Liverpool are up against AC Milan in the Champions League this week in what promises to be a historic clash of titans.
The European greats, who share 13 titles in the continent’s flagship tournament, will meet for the first time on a competitive stage at Anfield on Wednesday night.
Ciao, Reds! I – like many other Milanisti – am really looking forward to Wednesday night’s game between two storied clubs with great pedigree in the Champions League, with 13 titles between us. It has been some time since we last met, 14 years to be exact, and quite a lot has changed.
In terms of form, Milan enter the game firing all cylinders having won all three Serie A games to begin the season, scoring seven and conceding just once, with the most recent result being an impressive 2-0 home win over Lazio on Sunday night.
That game was critical for a number of reasons; it allowed Stefano Pioli’s side to gain confidence from passing their first big test, but also a few players came back into the fold having previously missed out.
Early stand-outs this season have been right-back Davide Calabria, who continues to assert himself as one of the best in his position in Italy – the battle between him and Sadio Mane will be fascinating.
Fikayo Tomori has continued his excellent form from 2020/21, which convinced Milan to spent €28 million to sign him from Chelsea, while Theo Hernandez also looks sharp again.
Rafael Leao has two goals in the first three games thus far – as does Olivier Giroud – while Brahim Diaz has looked very dynamic and tricky which could pose a fascinating duel against Fabinho.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is back at 100% and could well start at Anfield, having scored within seven minutes of coming on against Lazio, while Giroud has recovered from COVID-19 and is also in contention.
In terms of injury news, midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko limped off at the weekend and we are awaiting updates on his condition, while deadline day signing Junior Messias is not yet training with the first team, but aside from that there is a clean bill of health.
It is quite hard to predict our starting XI for this one, but the feeling is that Ibra will get the nod and the rest of the line-up will be first choice.
Probable Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Kjaer, Tomori, Theo Hernandez; Tonali, Kessie; Saelemaekers, Brahim Diaz, Leao; Ibrahimovic.
[EDIT: Tonali didn’t train on Tuesday due to illness, but is expected to be okay – while Ibra, Bakayoko and Krunic are all anticipated to miss Wednesday night’s fixture.]