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Liverpool 3-2 AC Milan
by James Nalton
There was a sense of an occasion for the opening game of Liverpool’s latest Champions League campaign as they welcomed AC Milan to Anfield for the first time.
It was an entertaining spectacle under the floodlights with the lead changing hands three times.
Some fans in the ground will have known about Milan’s relative fall from grace in recent years, though their promising campaign last time out saw them finish second in Serie A, securing their place in this season’s Champions League.
But regardless of what people did or didn’t know about the current version of Milan, everyone recognised that games on the European stage don’t come much bigger than this.
Liverpool and Milan are the most successful sides in their respective nations when it comes to the European Cup.
They have lifted the trophy 13 times between them, and have faced each other twice in finals winning one each.
Despite their undoubted European pedigree and prestige, this was the first time the two sides had met outside a final.
The game lived up to its promise with Liverpool taking the lead through a Fikayo Tomori own goal after good work from Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Milan came back into it with two in quick succession before half time, carving Liverpool open to produce goals from Ante Rebic and Brahim Diaz.
These two strikes and a Mohamed Salah missed penalty saw the visitors go in at the half a goal up, but Anfield roared Liverpool back into the game in the second period.
Salah eventually got his goal, latching on to a neat pass scooped over the defence by Divock Origi, before Jordan Henderson secured the win in style with a long-range effort that was celebrated aggressively by the Liverpool captain.
As football’s governing bodies battle it out with each other, their solution to any problem seems to be more football – if Uefa play more games where will Fifa fit theirs in? And vice versa.
This game showed the value of rare fixtures between the game’s biggest sides.
If they played each other every season they would become stale and overly familiar.
That two of Europe’s historic sides have only met three times adds meaning to the occasion, even if this one was merely the opening game of the group stages.
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