Milan put up a remarkable battle at Anfield, fighting back from a goal down and parrying a penalty to lead 2-1, but were eventually beaten 3-2 by Jordan Henderson’s Liverpool scorcher.
Champions League Liveblog: Inter-Real Madrid and Liverpool-Milan
The Rossoneri returned to the Champions League after a seven-year absence, but also had their first ever match at Anfield, having faced Liverpool with varying degrees of success in recent Finals. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was out injured, with Olivier Giroud and Sandro Tonali only fit for the bench, so Davide Calabria wore the captain’s armband. Jurgen Klopp missed Roberto Firmino and Harvey Elliott, with Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane dropped to the bench.
Divock Origi was a surprise starter and looked rusty, scuffing an Andrew Robertson cross wide in the opening minutes, with the hosts getting off to an extremely aggressive start.
It felt inevitable that Liverpool would break through and Trent Alexander-Arnold skipped away from Rafael Leao down the right, his attempted cross taking a deflection off Fikayo Tomori to wrong-foot Mike Maignan.
Moments later, Tomori had to fling himself in the way of Mohamed Salah’s strike, after the Egyptian had turned Theo Hernandez inside out.
Liverpool were awarded a penalty when Diogo Jota’s shot was deflected by Ismael Bennacer’s outstretched arm. However, Maignan made the save on both Salah’s spot-kick and the Jota rebound.
Maignan palmed a Salah half-volley over the bar, but Milan managed to weather that early siege and once the tempo and intensity of the Liverpool press dropped, the game was transformed.
They equalised when Leao’s slide-rule pass released Ante Rebic to strike it first time into the far bottom corner.
Just one minute and 48 seconds later, Milan had taken a 2-1 lead, as Leao went on another strong run, his pass to Rebic took a deflection, but the Croatian knocked it back across for Brahim Diaz to fire in from 12 yards.
Milan had the ball in the net again straight after the restart when a corner was not dealt with and Simon Kjaer tapped in, but the offside flag was up during the build-up.
Moments later, Liverpool equalised, as Salah completed a give and go with Divock Origi, flicking it past Maignan off the outside of the boot as it bounced.
Olivier Giroud was unleashed off the bench for the last half-hour, but Liverpool restored their lead with a stunning strike from Jordan Henderson. A corner was cleared to the edge of the box, where he let it bounce and smashed an unstoppable effort into the near bottom corner.
Giroud couldn’t keep his header on target from a Theo Hernandez cross, while Kjaer’s glancing header on a corner was gratefully smothered by Alisson before Brahim Diaz could pounce.
Liverpool 3-2 Milan
Tomori og 9 (L), Rebic 42 (M), Brahim Diaz 44 (M), Salah 49 (L), Henderson 69 (L)
Saved penalty: Salah 14 (L)