Player Ratings: AC Milan 1-2 Liverpool – Krunic the stand-out; unfocused Theo

By Fred Ilondo -

AC Milan failed to win their first game at home in the Champions League as they said goodbye to the competition after a 2-1 defeat to Liverpool. 

Milan did not manage to pull out any heroics in front of a packed out San Siro as they were beaten 2-1 by a mostly second string Liverpool side. Down below are the ratings of the Rossoneri…

Starting XI

Maignan (5): A really poor performance from the French goalkeeper who could have done better in both goals and made a couple of bad decisions both on and off the ball. He didn’t look his usual confident self at all.

Kalulu (6): Not the perfect performance from the youngster who had a nervous start. However, he grew into the game and had a good contribution in his team’s defensive efforts before coming off for Florenzi.

Tomori (6.5): Despite having a solid first half and scoring the goal that gave the Rossoneri some hope, his blunder in the second half also crushed any chance his team had left. An unfortunate accident that tarnished an otherwise respectable performance.

Romagnoli (6.5): Though his confidence and composure in defence was not enough to carry his team to a clean sheet, he certainly did a lot of heavy lifting at the back in against a tricky attacking force.

Hernandez (5): Unfocused, slow and uninterested are not often how one would describe Theo as a player, however, it seems appropriate to describe his performance tonight. He gave no support to his team offensively and was a liability defensively. A performance to forget.

Kessie (5.5): He did not look like his usual self as he was mostly frustrating to watch, made many mistakes during the build up and made some poor defensive choices with one of them resulting to a goal for the opposition.

Tonali (6.5): Solid display by the young midfielder. One of the only standouts in this game. His pressing allowed his team to fight for every ball, his awareness and quality of pass made him one of the better players on the pitch.

Messias (6): Though sloppy at times, his presence was always felt and his grit helped a lot in the build-up and the recovery of the ball. His recent clinical touch was missing, though.

Diaz (5.5): He seemed to be out of his depth physically, always struggled to stay on his feet or drive the ball forward and thus was unable to be useful in any way to his team-mates.

Krunic (7): Relatively speaking it was an incredible performance from Krunic, probably his best performance with the Milan shirt. Defensively solid and offensively present. A performance to build on.

Ibrahimovic (5.5): Despite a few good plays, Zlatan failed to be the inspiration his team-mates needed to get through the finish line. His decisions in the final third were questionable and his lack of pace and physical presence killed a lot of possible counters for his team.


Bennacer (6): While not playing as many minutes as he should have, the Algerian proved why he should have been on the pitch much earlier.

Saelemaekers (5.5): Even though he showed a lot of grit and desire as always, he simply did not have any impact on the game overall.

Florenzi (5.5): Despite a few good runs, he did not manage to leave a mark.

Bakayoko (6): Decent performance with a few good passes that could have led to a goal.

READ MORE: Lethargic Rossoneri finish bottom of Group B despite taking lead

Tags AC Milan AC Milan Player Ratings Milan Liverpool


  1. Too generous. Krunic I’ll agree with. It was pathetic. What made me feel even more sick was hearing that twirl mcmanaman on commentary.

    1. Was that the guy ffrom BT channel?

      If so I watched the same. British commenters are full of it, bt by the end I agreed with their smirks about Serie A – it really is not competitive to Premier League.

      But I think we could have won this game against Liverpool-B – if not for Pioli’s subtitutions and lack of courage till 80′, Hauge (stupid decision to let him go) and of course injuries. We also played B team.

    2. We have to admit that Milan were boring for most of the game. Without Leao, our game becomes slow, predictable, toothless.

  2. We need a right winger that makes a lot of noise into the goalpost and a CB like asap. Our attacking outlet is always down the left, Theo is not feeling well today, Leao/Rebic absent and we were just walking around the pitch. No attacking verve, no intensity.

    How are Maldini and Massara comfortable with this?

    Messias needs to start ahead of Diaz in the middle, if he refuses to find form, instead of chucking him down to the right when the middle is entirely useless in creating and linking our attacks.

    I can’t possibly be the only one seeing this.

  3. Krunic is the only player that tried to ay.Everyone else 5 and below.This was a 2nd string Liverpool team.There are no excuses for such a bad display all around.

  4. Our team is decent when the starters are fit and depth is there. But we can’t carry on with these obvious issues for long, else the challenge for the scudetto will die off without even a whimper.

  5. I don’t know what the coach tried to achieve today, was Kessie playing as a SS or what cus he was defensively lost and attacking absent.
    What does the coach have in mind with substitution? Did they tell him he must exhaust all the subs ? Cus I don’t get it. Why take out Tonali and leave the rebel Kessie who was clearly not contributing anything.

    Like it is said “attack is the best form of defense”. Our attack is dead we need fresh blood in the attack department. I don’t know if the management is blind to this fact. Kessie should be allowed to leave even if its for free, if he must stay 4.5mill per season and nothing more. The game was a disgraceful display for Milan

  6. You really like Messias.

    Order of importance:

    Pioli – 3. Pioli killed the game, taking off both Kalulu and Tonali. Both give their heart out, even tired they are better than Florenzi and Saele. You want QUALITY players on the pitch, those are the one that make the difference.
    Mostt grave mistake: introduced Bakayoko too late. Kessie had 2 good chances after this change was made! And it worked against Atletico, just stupid not to use it earlier.

    Florenzi, Krunic, Messias, Bennacer – 4. They were there but got nothing. All those that like Messias – look how often he likes to dribble and fails, when there are good cross opportunities. Bennacer should have try to score from the set piece, but he’s really not a leader in more important games.

    Theo – 5,5. One of the pillars in the first half, made mistakes but still tried till the end in the second. 6 given he was playing with cold.

    Brahim, Krunic, Tonali get 5,5 as well – engaged, but without any real product. Tonali should still be left on the field till the end. Krunic at fault for Salah’s goal.

    Tomori – 6. Stable in the first half and of course scored, later started to make mistakes.

    Kessie – 5,5. Hardest to rate – was good while under pressure, but should have been positioned better for Liverpool second goal. Best player on the field in the last 15 min, when the coach decided that maybe we should try to attack..

    Ibra – 5,5 – tried, good passes, but again the offside problem. Kalulu – 6, once out of position, but one of few able to keep up with the other side tempo.

    Romagnoli – 6. Positive surprise. He’s proven he is a good player. He’s good at his craft – positioning and tackles – Pioli makes him to be too ‘dynamic’.

    Last point – tactics. Not a fan of talking tactics cause I’m not an expert, same as 99% of football fans. But even I can see the downsides of Pioli side:

    1. Wide overload – works then other side has worse technique, otherwise like in this game you have narrow spaces to cross and opposition kills chances easily by amassing defense there.

    2. One striker up front – Zlatan’s age not showing apart of offside problem. But he is too isolated, needs to track back to build any meaningful attack. When Kessie was leading attacks from second line, we were immediately more dangerous.

    3. Changing position too often – you confuse opponent, but also yourself.

    4. Double pivot and 4-2-3-1. I recall excellent article here about 3-5-2 and how it could improve alienated attack & Romagnoli in defense.

    About future: Scudetto or bust. We need to switch to rebuild’s next phase.

    I leave other good article – see that half a year has passed, nothing really changed:

  7. Never thought I would say this but Krunic Romagnoli (lol) and Tomori (despite the mistake) we’re our best players IMO. If this game doesn’t show management how desperately we need to sign a young dynamic striker (Vlahovic) and RW (Faivre) nothing will. Aside from Leao we do not have any attacking player that can break the lines and create scoring opportunities. If we are serious about competing against Europe’s elite teams we must spend the $$ on Vlahovic and a RW. PERIOD. We are fine in Italy, but against top European teams the lack of dynamic players is evident. Konate had Ibra in his back pocket all game. Ibra is fine for Italy, but CL is a different animal and at best he is a bench player good for 20min or so. And that all we can expect from a 40 year old. Asking him to be our savior against one of the best teams in the world in a must win match is poor management. Buy VLAHOVIC and end this nonsense. 70M is a bargain for a 21yr old….Theo was atrocious IMO. You are man marking one of the best players on the planet in Salah and he just switches off and let’s Salah walk in for the rebound and score. How can you not stay focused when marking Salah??? It’s insane. When is this guy ever going to learn how to defend. He cannot just run by players in CL like he does in Serie A…It’s been 3 years now and he is no better than when he started. Unreal. Mike did all he could so I’m not sure why the harsh rating – the goals were rebounds – the original shots difficult to save. Kessie for me has checked out. He Let Chamberlain walk right by him. Mentally he is done. If someone wants to pay him 9M a season let him go. Replace him with KAMARA and/or Sanches and we are fine. All in all I was not surprised at the result against one of the best coached teams in the world – playing their subs or not – they are a professional, experienced CL team. We are not there yet. I was only disappointed in the lack of urgency from the players. Yes Liverpool frustrated us, but more urgency was needed IMO. The subs brought some of that (Bennacer, Florenzi) but it was a bit too late. Hopefully it is a learning lesson for the lads to grow from for next season and for management to finally realize we need to BUY DYNAMIC attacking players that can break the lines to truly compete in Europe.

    1. Sanches is more offensive, recently even played in attack. Kamara is a more direct Kessie replacement, but Sanches overall is even better player than Kessie.

      But Kessie is badly used by Pioli this season – he plays CB too often. I am aware of his role in double pivot, but it was too much today – when he was finally freed by Baka, he had 2 chances in 10 minutes! Again, I blame Pioli for lacking courage to play more offensively.

      Kamara + Nketiah = 0 for two young, good players. Nketiah is England’s top U 23 scorer, we could get him for free in the summer and I haven’t seen anyone mention him yet – does Tomori have to tell that to Maldini?

      I would sell Theo for 60m, if the rumors are true. He would fit in PSG as well.

    2. Diaz must be better as the starting ACM. He must dictate the play and provide the link to the forwards. We saw none of that yet again from Diaz. He’s young, but still has much to improve on.

      1. Diaz belongs on a Futsal field not a Football pitch. This guy is completely out of his depth against the top teams in Europe.

    3. Theo was atrocious IMO. You are man marking one of the best players on the planet in Salah and he just switches off and let’s Salah walk in for the rebound and score. How can you not stay focused when marking Salah??? It’s insane. When is this guy ever going to learn how to defend. He cannot just run by players in CL like he does in Serie A…It’s been 3 years now and he is no better than when he started. Unreal.

      Kessie for me has checked out. He Let Chamberlain walk right by him. Mentally he is done.

      Cannot defend for shit, and to busy looking down at the ball as he goes running “CHOO CHOO” up field. Then get’s tackled and starts screaming in “AgOnY”. The guy would make a better actor than footballplayer…
      I know Fode Ballo Toure hasn’t been great.. But give the guy a chance and bench Theo to learn him a valuable lesson..
      Also on second goal (origi). Theo is nowhere near focused. Looks like he has no instinct.. In such a crucial game all balls should be tracked back. Theo just stands there looking as Maignan makes wonderful save (to bad it became a rebound) which Origi all alone could head into open goal..

      Otherwise i agree with your summarize. Spot on.

  8. Sell Theo for 60m please. It’s a steal. This summer will be our best window, after that interested clubs will realize he is terrible in defense.

    1. Agree with you but not in todays game. he was sick with a cold but we dont have a replacement for him exept Ballo Toure and he is dead wood atm.

  9. Why do people give Kessie any credit? I just hardly see him make an impact on defense and his performance on offense tonight was total crap. He blew 4 chances by lack of skill or embarrassing attempts at getting penalties. Penalties being his preferred goal-scoring method and even there he’s only 2/3 this season.

    The offense lacked today but when you’re supposed to push as high as Kessie does, the least you could do is have some actual talent on the ball not whatever Kessie brings

  10. We need Icardi for replace Ibra.,
    he’s look so old to run to get the ball.
    i think we don’t need a big name like Ibra in the forward but a young guy with great quality it the front.

  11. Team full of energy vs a team without any. Even Klopp said it when he named his team, yes there are lesser players but they are fresh and should be able to press harder.

  12. I still maintain my opinion.
    Pioli is an average coach.
    All your midfielders are in form, why not play them?why stick to a formation without the right individuals.
    He can play a 442.
    Ibra and Messais
    Dias,he can move to the left.
    Tonali as the CAM.
    Then a double pivot of Kessie & Bennacer.
    Substitutes: Krunic for Diaz
    Sale for Messais.
    Baka for Tonali or Bennacer,then Kessie move up front.
    He can still manage the injury situations with dis, pending full recovery.
    Someone should pls tell pioli dis.

    1. I have been screaming change in formation for as long as I cannot even remember, but people think No. We could have tried something new given we had the complete midfield but Mr Pioli has no clue, we could play a 3 man defense to fully utilize Theo so other serious lads can defend.
      Kalulu-Simon/Rogmanoli- Tomori
      Ibrahimovic – Rebic/Leo

      I don’t know if the coach actually had a game plan. It was frustrating to watch

  13. Krunic was surprisingly good. It felt like he was everywhere. Love his motivation and focus.
    Tomori — also another good game. He is from EPL and plays the same style as most EPL defenders do. That’s why a lot of Juve fans cry when Tomori brings aggressive EPL marking to Serie A. Lol.
    Theo, well, defense is not his best. Even in his national team he plays as a midfielder with his brother behind. Probably we should consider to use him in 3-5-2 or something. He is like Gareth Bale who started as a LB then converted himself into a midfielder.
    And Bakayoko was good as well. When he was subbed in we started to move the ball forward. It seems like to play against EPL teams you need physically strong athletes, like Tomori and Bakayoko. Or even Rebic and Leao. Otherwise they just push you out from the ball like they did with Diaz and others.

  14. For me, pioli need some education himself. How can you organise a team that cannot keep ball possession combining at least 8 good passes before losing it. Players fail to mobilise when in possession to displace opponent marking. It’s good to be defensive cautious but it is better to maintain possession to keep opponents at bay. Brahim Diaz is too small for that 10 position. His physique, lack of balance and speed makes him an easy target for any defensive midfielder. Milan need a physical, aggressive speedster in midfield, like most conventional South American midfielders. A more aggressive 9 is needed to. Let’s get rid of conventional 9 like Giroud or Ibra, we need an aggressive 9 like Taremi or You g Suarez who give defenders lots of heat. Not slow Players that can be tracked easily. Junior Messias needs to hit the Gym and grow some muscles too. Tonali is fine but he needs to be confident on the ball and not loose it due to panic. Kessingland is too stiff, slow and visionless. As a CM, you need to have the vision to move the ball forward quickly before opponents closes down spaces.. the wingers need to learn how to switch and run across midfield to create confusion amongst the opponent. I sincerely believe not hiring Ragnick is a big loss to improve milan quality of play and raise level of series A football in general. My clear view on what needs to change.

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