Jordan Henderson’s excellent end gave Liverpool a 3-2 victory from behind over AC Milan in an exhilarating opening-night conflict in Champions League Group B.
Liverpool burst out of the traps and have been 1-0 up early on via Fikayo Tomori’s personal purpose from a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross (9), earlier than Mo Salah noticed his penalty saved by Mike Maignan (14), his first miss in 17 for Liverpool.
However Milan produced two objectives out of skinny air as Ante Rebic’s tidy end (42) after which former Man Metropolis man Brahim Diaz’s faucet dwelling (44) from two equally blistering breaks surprised Anfield going into half-time.
Salah made up for his penalty miss with a leveller simply after the break (48), poking dwelling Divock Origi’s intelligent chip over the defence, and Jordan Henderson accomplished Liverpool’s personal comeback with an beautiful half-volley from 20 yards (69) from a cleared nook.
The end result, paired with Atletico’s 0-0 draw in opposition to Porto, places Liverpool on the entrance foot in a tough Group B, with Porto subsequent up away from dwelling on September 28. Jurgen Klopp’s aspect are unbeaten in all competitions this season, and unbeaten in 14 total.
Liverpool: Alisson (6), Alexander-Arnold (7), Gomez (7), Matip (6), Robertson (8), Fabinho (7), Keita (6), Henderson (8), Salah (7), Origi (7), Jota (6).
Subs: Mane (6), Jones (6), Thiago (6), Oxalde-Chamberlain (NA), Milner (NA)
AC Milan: Maignan (7), Calabria (6), Kjaer (6), Tomori (5), Hernandez (6), Bennacer (5), Kessie (6), Saelemaekers (6), Diaz (6), Leao (6), Rebic (7).
Subs: Giroud (5), Florenzi (5), Tonali (5), Maldini (NA)
Man of the match: Jordan Henderson
How Liverpool got here out on prime in five-goal traditional
It was Anfield’s first European evening with supporters in attendance for the reason that begin of the pandemic, whereas seven-time winners AC Milan have been again in Champions League motion for the primary time in seven years.
However it was a impolite awakening initially for the Italians as Liverpool camped in Milan’s defensive third from the primary minute; Andrew Robertson and Diogo Jota missed early half-chances, and so they took the lead via sensible mixture play between Alexander-Arnold and Salah.
Having performed a one-two with Salah round an unsuspecting Rafael Leao, Alexander-Arnold skipped his method into the field on the proper, seemed to centre, and noticed the ball deflect off Tomori and over goalkeeper Maignan for an personal purpose.
It ought to have been 2-0 moments later as Liverpool have been awarded a penalty for a handball from Ismael Bennacer as he blocked Robertson’s cross, however Salah’s blasted penalty was saved by Maignan down the center, earlier than the Milan stopper reacted nicely to tip away Jota’s headed rebound at shut vary.
Liverpool made 4 modifications to the aspect that beat Liverpool as Virgil van Dijk was benched alongside Thiago and Sadio Mane, whereas Harvey Elliott was out injured.
Joe Gomez got here in for his first begin since November, Divock Origi obtained his first begin since January, whereas Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita got here into midfield.
AC Milan made three modifications to the aspect that beat Lazio on Sunday as Simon Kjaer, Ismael Bennacer and Alexis Saelemakers got here in for Alessio Romagnoli, Sandro Tonali and Alessandro Florenzi. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was out injured, whereas Olivier Giroud was on the bench.
Milan then settled barely as Liverpool moved to a decrease gear, however the possibilities continued to movement as Joel Matip headed a great alternative at Maignan, and Salah’s snap-shot from the sting of the field was tipped away brilliantly by the busy goalkeeper.
However such is the character of Champions League soccer, one second of high quality turned the sport on its head. Milan equalised from nowhere as Leao’s move cut up Matip and Joe Gomez to seek out Rebic, who wrapped his foot across the ball to complete low previous Alisson.
And simply 110 seconds later it was 2-1 as Rebic was launched once more by Leao on the left of the field. This time he squared for Theo Hernandez, whose shot was blocked on the road by Robertson, just for Diaz to faucet dwelling once more with the Liverpool defender failing to get again to his ft in time.
Liverpool’s followers and gamers went into half-time questioning how their dominance was not mirrored within the scoreline.
However they have been let off the hook seconds after the restart as Simon Kjaer transformed on the again submit from a Jordan Henderson error at a nook, just for the offside flag to accurately go up, and it was quickly 2-2.
Receiving the ball on the sting of the field from Salah, Origi scooped the ball over the Milan again line for the Egyptian, who composed himself earlier than pushing the ball previous Maignan, staying simply onside.
AC Milan retreated once more, and Liverpool huffed and puffed earlier than getting their third halfway via the second half via an unlikely supply.
From a half-cleared nook, Henderson’s first-time half-volley from the sting of the field was struck fantastically, flying into the underside left nook for less than his second Liverpool purpose for the reason that finish of the 2019/20 season.
The one-goal lead was nonetheless fragile as sub Olivier Giroud headed off course, whereas Alisson simply cleared forward of Milan’s entrance line from a nook, however Liverpool held on.
This wasn’t fairly Istanbul in 2005, however the victory and comeback was a present of character from a Liverpool aspect reverting to sort following an topsy-turvy 2020/21 season, and a traditional European evening will contribute closely to the sensation of normality at Anfield.
Opta stats – 2,485 days between Henderson’s CL objectives
- Liverpool have received their opening dwelling recreation in seven of their final eight Champions League campaigns (D1), final shedding such a match in October 2007 (0-1 in opposition to Marseille).
- Beneath Jüugen Klopp, Liverpool have solely misplaced one in every of their 13 group stage video games within the UEFA Champions League at Anfield (W10 D2) – 0-2 versus Atalanta final season. The Reds have averaged 2.5 objectives per dwelling recreation within the group stage for the reason that German took cost (33 objectives).
- Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson scored simply his 2nd Champions League purpose (thirty ninth look), 2,485 days since his first, in opposition to Ludogorets Razgrad in November 2014.
September 28: Porto (A) – kick-off 8pm
October 19: Atletico Madrid (A) – kick-off 8pm
November 3: Atletico Madrid (H) – kick-off 8pm
November 24: Porto (H) – kick-off 8pm
December 7: AC Milan (A) – kick-off 8pm
Liverpool now host Crystal Palace within the Premier League on Saturday at 3pm, whereas Milan are at Juventus on Sunday night at 7.45pm in Serie A. Milan’s subsequent Champions League group recreation is at dwelling to Atletico Madrid on September 28 at 8pm.