Liverpool have been dealt arguably the hardest group in the Champions League this year, with pot 4 Milan having made a perfect start in Serie A this year, while Poto and Atletico Madrid aren’t exactly walk-overs, so the Reds are certainly going to have to be at their very best to qualify.
AC are featuring in their first Champions League campaign since 2013/14, which is astonishing for a club of their magnitude, and memories of big finals in 2005 and 2007 will be right at the forefront of fans’ minds when the players take to the pitch.
Milan were dominant in a 2-0 win over Lazio at the weekend, with the highlight being the return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic who came off the bench to score after four months out with injury, and he could be a real threat to Liverpool’s backline in this game.
Indeed, in the league alone, AC Milan’s output increases by 20% when the Swede has started under current management, so the key battle looks certain to be between Zlatan and Virgil van Dijk on this occasion.
Over 2.5 Goals
Since returning to the Champions league four seasons ago, Liverpool have gone just W2-D1-L1 from their opening fixtures, with both victories coming by single goal margins, while their defeat came at the hands of another Italian side, Napoli, just two seasons ago, so it would come as a surprise, if they put this tricky Milan side to the sword, despite this being played at Anfield.
There’s little to go off in terms of a head-to-head record here, with this being the first meeting between these great clubs that isn’t a final, With Liverpool memorably taking the crown in dramatic style in 2005, although the Italian giants enacted their revenge two years later with a 2-1 victory.
Neither of these sides have been goal shy this year with neither failing to score over 90 minutes yet, though both have also only conceded the once this season so it’s difficult to assess whether this will be a thriller or not.
However, when taking the first group game over the last five seasons, there’s been an average of 3.04 goals per game from those 80 fixtures with a 68% rate of over 2.5 goals, and with the attacking talent on the field here from both sides, it certainly wouldn’t be a shock to see that trend continue here.
OVER 2.5 GOALS