Liverpool 4-1 AC Milan: Rossoneri well beaten in second Dubai Super Cup game

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan were comprehensively beaten by a Liverpool side who appeared well ahead in their preparation for the resumption of the season, losing 4-1 in Dubai.

Jurgen Klopp’s men resume their campaign before Christmas so it was perhaps to be expected that they would be ahead in condition, and an early goal from Mohamed Salah certainly gave that idea credence.

Alexis Saelemaekers drew Milan level with a tidy finish but Thiago’s sweet strike sent the English club in 2-1 up at the break and a second half brace from Darwin Nunez put the result beyond doubt.

Stefano Pioli made some changes to the line-up compared to the side that played Arsenal on Tuesday with Antonio Mirante, Malick Thiaw and Rade Krunic coming in. Charles De Ketelaere, Divock Origi, Fikayo Tomori, Brahim Diaz and Junior Messias were all not named in the squad.

Milan really should have taken the lead inside the opening couple of minutes when some excellent work from Yacine Adli saw him break through Liverpool’s lines and carry the ball 40 yards before sliding a through ball to Marko Lazetic, but the Serbian centre-forward dragged his effort wide of the far post.

Liverpool would make Milan pay for missing that chance as they took the lead in the fifth minute. Matip stepped up from his usual centre-back position to complete a nice exchange with Salah, who finished from inside the area with Antonio Mirante having already gone down.

Mirante certainly seemed determined to make an impression of some kind after he could have perhaps done better for the opening goal, with the 39-year-old rushing way off his line to clear danger soon after and then fooling the pressing Firmino with a composed bit of footwork a few minutes later.

Liverpool continued to have the better of the chances, with Salah firing wide from around 20 yards, Oxlade-Chamberlain doing the same and Thiago also dragging a shot an effort past the near post from a similar distance.

Just before the half hour mark, Milan got themselves back on level terms and it was courtesy of a lovely goal from Saelemaekers. The Belgian was found by a ball from Rebic and attacked the box, beating Robertson with a turn inside and curling a shot inside the far post.

Liverpool should have retaken the lead when Salah found Milner on the far side of the box who in turn found Oxlade-Chamberlain for an almost point blank header in front of goal, yet the midfielder headed straight at Mirante who caught easily.

Klopp’s side did go back in front five minutes before the break as Thiago was not to be denied again from the edge of the box. A failure to clear the ball properly allowed the Brazilian to strike a fierce shot past Mirante into the bottom left corner.

Pioli opted to switch out the double pivot at half-time with Tonali and Krunic going off replaced by Ismael Bennacer and Aster Vranckx. After a quiet start to the second half, Youns El Hilali came on for Rebic.

Just after the substitution Milan tested Kelleher as a lovely corner from Adli found the head of Pobega who met it with good contact but didn’t quite have the power to beat the goalkeeper.

There was a moment of panic for Milan midway through the second half as a run from Nunez and a cut-back towards Carvalho resulted in Mirante being left scrambling to claim a loose ball which he failed to do and eventually – after a couple more blocked shots towards a virtually empty net – the ball was cleared.

El Hilali nearly made his mark in an incredible way when he received a pass from Bennacer and cut in onto his right foot and curled a shot onto the crossbar.

Just inside the final 20 minutes a double change came from Milan as Bozzolan and Bakayoko came on for Pobega and Saelemaekers.

Liverpool put the game beyond doubt in the 82nd minute as Nunez got his name on the scoresheet. A lovely through ball from substitute Bobby Clarke cut Thiaw out of the game and allowed the Uruguayan striker to slot under Mirante while through on goal.

An open 90 minutes ended with a flurry of chances as Liverpool hit the post at one end then El Hilali had a shot blocked before Adli had a weak low shot saved he should have done better with.

Nunez added a fourth for Liverpool with an easy finish from a ball across the face of goal to cap off a comfortable win in normal time.

The penalty shootout followed for the bonus point and Milan emerged victorious in that 4-3 with Bennacer, Bakayoko, El Hilali and Kalulu scoring while Mirante saved the first two spot kicks for Liverpool.

Tags AC Milan Liverpool-Milan

1 Comment

  1. Didn’t watch the match but from what I read, I don’t think we were that bad: we probably weren’t that good. Hopefully these friendlies have given Pioli a clue on what needs to be improved upon tactically and also who needs more game time. Finally, it seems our fitness issues will be our greatest undoing.

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