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Liverpool v AC Milan Prediction: Back there to be a penalty at Anfield

Liverpool v AC Milan Prediction: Three tips from Anfield on Champions League night.
Liverpool v AC Milan Prediction: Three tips from Anfield on Champions League night.

Two of the most successful clubs in European history go head-to-head on Wednesday night, as Liverpool welcome AC Milan to Anfield in their opening Champions League fixture.

It’ll be the first time the two sides have met in over 14 years, when Filippo Inzaghi’s brace led the Italian side to their 7th European Cup. It was sweet revenge for a Milan side that had squandered their first attempt at lucky number seven just two years earlier.

In what was the most memorable final of the Champions League era, the Reds came back from 3-0 down to defeat Carlo Ancelotti’s side on penalties and add their fifth European title.

Since then Liverpool have added to their total with another trophy in the competition, whilst Milan have experienced a seven year absence from it.

Under the guidance of Stefano Pioli, the Rossoneri have found their way back to the top table of the continent’s Premier competition - with a little help from old friend Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The Swede, who left Milan for PSG in 2012, rejoined the club from LA Galaxy for free in January 2020 and has been a thorn in the side of their opponents ever since.

The Lion, as he calls himself, has scored 26 times in 38 Serie A appearances - contributing seven assists - and he’ll be a big miss on Wednesday night, missing out with tightness around his Achilles tendon.

That makes the job of Virgil Van Dijk a little easier. Although, if anyone was thinking that the injury that ended his season in October 2020 was going to make him a shadow of his former self, think again.

The Dutchman has started all four of Liverpool’s Premier League games this season, conceding just the single goal and notably keeping Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku quieter than usual.

His return to the heart of the defence has seen his side soar to joint top of the division, and now the focus will be on returning the Champions League trophy to Merseyside.

They’ll be looking to get off to a strong start against AC Milan then, and will have to do so without Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino. He misses out with a thigh injury.

Youngster Harvey Elliot will also be absent from the squad, after sustaining a season-ending injury against Leeds at the weekend, whilst Neco Williams likely won’t be fit enough to feature.

The Rossoneri will be hoping Tiemoué Bakayoko will have recovered from the knock that saw him substituted 13 minutes into his first appearance of the season against Lazio.

It looks as though Olivier Giroud will have overcome the effects of COVID to lead the front line in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but Rade Krunic is still out after getting injured on international duty.

Liverpool v AC Milan Tips

Liverpool v AC Milan Odds

Liverpool v AC Milan Odds
A penalty to be awarded
31/20
Odds correct as of 2021-09-15 08:35 Odds subject to change.

Taking charge of this one is Polish referee Szymon Marciniak, and he has a lengthy track record of giving spot kicks. Since the start of the 2019/20 season, he has given an astonishing 55 penalties in just 86 games and has shown no signs of slowing down this season; having already awarded five in seven matches. In fact, in his last eight Champions League appearances he has awarded seven penalties - including one to Liverpool in their 2019 Group Stage game at PSG.

Today's football tips
Trent Alexander-Arnold to be carded
6/1
Odds correct as of 2021-09-15 08:40 Odds subject to change.

Trent Alexander-Arnold has solidified himself as one of, if not the, best right-back in the world over the last few seasons and - barring a blip in form last season - is very rarely flustered by opponents. However, we saw against Real Madrid in this competition last year that a combination of winger and full-back can get him on the back foot and AC Milan’s duo have been doing exactly that to opponents so far this season.

All three right-backs to face the Rossoneri so far this season - Bartosz Bereszynski, Nahitan Nandez (RWB), and Adam Marusic - have found themselves in the book, with Theo Hernandez and Rafael Leao terrorising opposition defences.

Hernandez & Alexander-Arnold to be carded & Jota anytime scorer
55/1
Odds correct as of 2021-09-15 08:50 Odds subject to change.

In Roberto Firmino’s absence, it should be Diogo Jota leading the line for Jurgen Klopp’s side. He’s bagged two in his three starts already this season, and notched nine times despite starting just 13 Premier League games last season. He’s also taken 18 shots in 5 starts for club and country this term, and should have plenty of opportunities on Wednesday evening.

As well as Alexander-Arnold, I like the look of Theo Hernandez to find himself in trouble with the Polish referee too. The Frenchman picked up 13 cards in 33 Serie A starts last season, averaging one every 2.5 games. Having not been booked yet in 360 minutes of football so far this year, it’s fair to say he’s due one. 

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