AC Milan are back in action in Serie A after qualifying to the Coppa Italia quarter-finals and losing in the Supercup against Juventus. Gennaro Gattuso’s men will face Genoa away from home and will look to guarantee a win to step up their pace in the race for a Champions League spot.

The team will have to deal with several absentees after a lively match in Saudi Arabia, in which many players got booked or even sent off, as well as a week full of transfer rumours concerning Gonzalo Higuain.

THE TEAM

In goal, it will be, as usual in Serie A Gianluigi Donnarumma, while in front of him the defence will have to be changed as a consequence of suspensions. Davide Calabria and Alessio Romagnoli got booked in Jeddah and will not participate in the match at the Luigi Ferraris.

Mateo Musacchio is expected to start next to Cristian Zapata, while it will be either Andrea Conti or Ignazio Abate on the right flank, with Ricardo Rodriguez being a certain part of the team on the left.

The midfield will also have to be changed, as Franck Kessie received a red card against Juventus. Tiemoue Bakayoko and new boy Lucas Paqueta will be likely accompanied by Jose Mauri.

Jose Mauri Milan

In the attack, Gonzalo Higuain will be absent due to his imminent transfer to Chelsea and he will thus be replaced by Patrick Cutrone in the starting line-up. Meanwhile, Suso returns to the team after his injury and suspension for the Supercup and will play on the right, while Hakan Calhanoglu will start on the left wing.

Likely AC Milan XI (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Conti/Abate; Musacchio, Zapata, Rodriguez; Bakayoko, Mauri, Paqueta; Suso, Cutrone, Calhanoglu.

THE OPPONENTS

For Genoa, it will be their premiere in 2019, seeing as they were eliminated in the Coppa Italia. Cesare Prandelli’s team will look to make a leap in the standings, as they are currently in 14th place with just 20 points. However, the team will have to deal without their top scorer Kryzstof Piatek, who is suspended and also on the verge of a move to Milan. Sandro and Oscar Hiljemark are also unavailable.

The Stadio Luigi Ferraris is definitely not a favourite for the Rossoneri. Milan have won just two games here from their last five against Genoa, with last year’s matchup being decided by Andre Silva in the dying minutes of the match.

Piatek Genoa

Likely Genoa XI (4-4-2): Radu; Biraschi; Romero, Zukanovic, Criscito; Lazovic, Roloa, Veloso, Bessa; Kouame, Favilli.

LAST TIME OUT

Milan’s last match was against Juventus in the Supercup which the Rossoneri lost 0-1, before that they prevailed over Sampdoria at the same stadium as they will play tomorrow 2-0 in the Coppa Italia and their last Serie A match was a 2-1 win over SPAL at the San Siro in December.

Genoa’s last match was a goalless draw against Fiorentina at home, preceded by a 1-0 loss away against Cagliari and a spectacular 3-1 win over Atalanta at the Ferraris.

KEY PLAYERS

On Milan’s side, Gonzalo Higuain was usually the player to keep an eye on but in his absence, it could be the returning Suso, or Patrick Cutrone, who will replace the Argentinian in the line-up. The young Italian scored two goals against Sampdoria at Genoa’s stadium only a week ago and will look to replicate his success in the beautiful port city.

Cutrone Milan

Genoa will be missing their key man Kryzstof Piatek but they have another attacker to look out, and his name is Christian Kouame, a young Ivorian starlet who has been one of the Serie A revelations this season and has attracted attention with his speed and technique.

PREDICTION

It will definitely not be an easy game for Milan in a difficult stadium but it seems that this Genoa side could be vulnerable with a more conservative game approach that can be expected from Cesare Prandelli. It will be close but Milan will prevail and open 2019 with a Serie A win.

Genoa 1-2 AC Milan

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