Paolo Maldini assures Milan know Liverpool ‘are dangerous in attack, but also have weaknesses,’ while he fears the Anfield atmosphere could affect his players in the Champions League tonight.
It kicks off at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT).
You can follow all the build-up and action as it happens on the LIVEBLOG.
Champions League Liveblog: Inter-Real Madrid and Liverpool-Milan
“It is true we’ve never played at Anfield, so this is a curious thing for clubs like Milan and Liverpool. After 18 months without fans, to make our Champions League debut in this stadium adds extra atmosphere,” Maldini told Sky Sport Italia.
“It is exciting for the Milan galaxy, for everyone around the club and those who love the Rossoneri. There’s also work and contributing to getting this team back into the Champions League after seven years is something to be proud of.”
The Rossoneri are in an incredibly tough group with Liverpool, Atletico Madrid and FC Porto, so what are they expecting from this first foray back to the top table of European football in seven seasons?
“I believe that in the three previous seasons we always tried to improve on the year before. Milan have to enter the Champions League from the front door and we know that we’re not among the strongest teams in the tournament yet, but we have to be competitive,” continued the director.
“We want to maintain our battling spirit, so don’t come here and change our nature too much. We know Liverpool are very quick, have quality and are dangerous in attack, but they also have weaknesses and we intend to make the most of those.”
Having said that, he will confess a packed Anfield is going to be a factor to consider this evening.
“Many claimed that much of our success over the last year was because there were no fans at San Siro and therefore less pressure. We proved that was not the case. However, playing our first Champions League game here – where frankly the atmosphere felt like it was a Champions League game even when I played here for the Milan Legends in a charity match – admittedly that could be a factor in favour of the host team tonight.”
Maldini shook hands with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp during the warm-up on the pitch at Anfield.
“We spoke about the greatness of this club and theirs. He was complimentary on our return to the Champions League. There is always great respect between people who experienced winning the Champions League.”
Paolo Maldini and Champions League nights, a truly iconic duo
Paolo Maldini e le notti di Champions: un legame indissolubile #LiverpoolMilan #UCL #SempreMilan pic.twitter.com/T4J9jr7Ek3
— AC Milan (@acmilan) September 15, 2021