One of the most important signs AC Milan got from the defeat against Liverpool yesterday was how encouraging the performance of Alexis Saelemaekers was.
As reported this morning by Tuttosport (via MilanNews), Milan had been without Saelemaekers for the two friendlies played so far this winter, against Lumezzane at Milanello and then against Arsenal in Dubai on Tuesday.
In fact, we had not seen Saelemaekers on the field in any game since 1 October when during the 3-1 win against Empoli the Rossoneri lost the Belgian winger to injury in addition to captain Davide Calabria.
The former Anderlecht man was kept out by a knee issue which also prevented him from participating in the World Cup in Qatar, instead being part of the reserve list, so to have him back on the pitch and scoring goals like the one against Liverpool yesterday is a big boost for Stefano Pioli.
Pioli had to resort to imaginative solutions for the right wing role in the build up to the break because Junior Messias was not in the best condition either, so Saelemaekers recovery is tactically important as well as numerically.
Pioli hopes that the recovery of Saelemaekers is just the first in a long series from now to the match against Salernitana on January 4. Origi (muscle problem), Tomori and Diaz (workload management) and De Ketelaere (just returned from post-World Cup holidays) were left out of the game yesterday, while Calabria, Florenzi, Ibrahimovic and Maignan are all to come back.