Stefano Pioli has suggested that his AC Milan outfit could cause Liverpool issues at the San Siro in their upcoming Champions League group game clash, insisting that the Reds ‘are certainly not unbeatable’.
The Italian did note that he believed Jurgen Klopp’s men were likely contenders for the European crown, however, after highlighting some of the Merseysiders’ most threatening traits.
“Having already faced them this season gives us a bit more information and we know what we’re going into. You cannot do without quality or intensity in Europe, so those must be main characteristics of our performance on Tuesday,” the 56-year-old told DAZN (via Football Italia).
“Liverpool have this way of immediately putting in a vertical pass and changing the pace with three forwards. They are one of the teams that can aim to win the Champions League this season.
“We wanted to be in this position and now we can only try to give our best. We know Liverpool will inevitably cause us some issues, but the spaces can open up too, because they are certainly not unbeatable or impenetrable in defence.”
With passage through to the knockout stages of the competition already secured, the tie does bear a great deal more significance for the Serie A giants who need at least a point from the fixture to have any hope of progressing to the next round.
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Jurgen Klopp will be forced to handle a similar challenge to that we faced in our throwaway meeting with FC Porto, with motivating his side set to be key in our impending visit to mainland Europe.
We certainly can’t risk handing Pioli’s men a spate of clear-cut chances in front of goal courtesy of a laidback start to proceedings.
With the German particularly valuing the importance of momentum, we can’t see a greatly-changed XI being thrown out against Il Rossoneri, and we’ll be hoping to secure a 100% record in the group stage come the midweek game.
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I’d be amazed if it didn’t consist of at least 5 changes. Tsimikas, Ox, Konate, Neco Williams, Minmino, Origi and Kelleher could all start.
With 5 subs allowed, we could see Klopp give first teamers 30-45 minutes, should it be needed.