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AC Milan 1 Liverpool 2 (Dec 7 2021)

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Report by
Dave Usher

 

There’s a danger for us fans of taking this kind of thing for granted. It wasn’t an important game as we were already through, but sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture. How many English teams have gone to the San Siro and beaten AC Milan? For us it’s not that big a deal because of all the other accomplishments we’ve had, but for 95% of other English clubs it would be their greatest night in their history.

 

The fact we did it with only three of our usual starting line up on the field is pretty remarkable. Ok, Milan didn’t look like any great shakes but they are top of Serie A and they needed to win this game. We didn’t need to win it yet our lads looked much more up for this than they did. That’s not because Milan weren’t motivated, it’s just that they couldn’t cope.

 

We were too strong, too fast, too intense, too relentless for them. They couldn’t play because they weren’t allowed to. Any time one of their players had the ball he was immediately swarmed by yellow shirts and they had no answer to it. The only time they even put us under pressure was in the final five minutes, by which time we had long since taken off Sadio, Mo and even Divock and we had a forward line of Neco, Ox and Taki.

 

It wasn’t a game I was particularly up for and if we’d have lost I wouldn’t have been particularly bothered, at least in relation to how I’d normally feel about a defeat. And yet within a few minutes of the game kicking off I was well into it because I loved what I was seeing. It was just like watching the first team, even though hardly any of them were even out there.

 

By the end I was absolutely buzzing. This was fucking great. We went to the San Siro with a side containing Tyler Morton, Neco Williams and Nat Phillips and we played AC Milan off the park. The scoreline makes the game seem closer than it was as it was actually really comfortable and Milan barely laid a glove on us.

 

I don’t think you can overstate how big an accomplishment this was. Imagine going to the best team in Italy with a team of mostly back ups and kids and comfortably dealing with the game and winning 2-1. Not enough will be made of it, understandably because we were already through and there was nothing riding on the game. In a way though that makes it even more impressive. I'm still buzzing about this performance now, the morning after. 

 

 

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"The San Siro is synonymous with great centre backs. Baresi, Rijkaard, Costacurta, Maldini, Nesta, Desailly, Stam, Bonucci…" 

 

Pedantic observation: Rijkaard was a great midfielder for Milan, not defender.

 

Plus you omitted Gabriel Paletta from that list. 

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"Paletta [has] drawn some criticism at times for being inconsistent, error-prone, and excessively aggressive when tackling, which led to unnecessary bookings and expulsions on numerous occasions." 

 

One of the true greats. 

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2 hours ago, Josef Svejk said:

"The San Siro is synonymous with great centre backs. Baresi, Rijkaard, Costacurta, Maldini, Nesta, Desailly, Stam, Bonucci…" 

 

Pedantic observation: Rijkaard was a great midfielder for Milan, not defender.

 

Plus you omitted Gabriel Paletta from that list. 

 

Mostly midfield, but played at the back for them occasionally, that's why I included him.

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8 players rested and another 6 (Gomez, Milner, Keita, Jones, Elliot Firmino) out injured/returning from injury and still dominated the Serie A leaders in the San Siro. As Chris said in the podcast - Halcyon days. 

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It's mad when you think about the gulf between the two clubs and teams in Istanbul, which is what made it literally a miracle. The calibre of players and managers clubs like that could attract, whereas we had to play guerrilla football to try and compete with the top tier like them. Now we can brush them aside while resting some of our best players. It's an incredible turnaround under Klopp, we're not just pretenders now, since we won the World Club Championship - the kind of match we definitely would have lost years ago - you feel like we're truly at the top table again, and everyone knows it, and those with any class will freely admit it.  

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Love Nat Phillips. Very reminiscent of Carra in how his greatest strengths are mental and his technique is massively underrated. When we sell him there’d better be a buy back in there. As long as Klopp is managing him, he has clear Matip-replacement potential.
 

And yes, I know how good Joel is. I suspect Kloppo wants everyone to have pace in his back line, but that aside, I see no reason why Big Nat couldn’t rise from obscurity like Robbo has. His development is only a few months old really when you think about it, so why not? Klopp is the development king and Nat is still “young” in development terms.  

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It was brilliant. Their goal had me fuming because they deserved absolutely nothing from this game, nothing at all. At home, needing a win against a mostly 2nd team and they couldn't raise any threat other than a corner which should have been cleared easily. The two CBs were excellent, if Konate can add guile to his physical ability he is going to be some player.

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Amazing that virtually every report in the mainstream media starts off by detailing how poorly Liverpool’s opposition played. Never enters their head that Klopp and his back room team have probably done a number of them before a single player walks on the pitch, or that this current side is good enough to work out how to adapt during a game to get the job done.

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9 hours ago, Marcas said:

Amazing that virtually every report in the mainstream media starts off by detailing how poorly Liverpool’s opposition played

I look forward to beating a team that's good, it's never ever happened.

Barcelona-shite.

United-shite.

Porto-shite.

Everton-shite? OK, so my argument falls down there as they are shite. But we never seem to get credit as we're actually very good at this footy thing.

 

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I don’t think you can overstate how big an accomplishment this was. Imagine going to the best team in Italy with a team of mostly back ups and kids and comfortably dealing with the game and winning 2-1. Not enough will be made of it, understandably because we were already through and there was nothing riding on the game. In a way though that makes it even more impressive. I'm still buzzing about this performance now, the morning after.


 

this is the point isn’t it. United we’re already through so picked a similarly depleted team of reserves for their home game against young boys. That’s a home game, against a nothing team. And only drew.

 

winning 6 out of 6 is nice, but far from necessary, but as was said on the podcast, to do it with these players in the team and with key contributions from a number of them, gives confidence to them, to the staff and importantly to the fans that we can continue winning when these players come in during the heavy xmas fixtures and when the ACON is on.

 

I missed most of it as o was playing footie, so take what’s been said by people at face value, but great result and boss to build from.

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Nothing to add to that report Dave. Currently we are as good as any team in the world - and better than most....

 

As you said many times, lap it up while we can. The Wheel of Fortune will turn again some day...

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15 hours ago, RedKnight said:

At least the VIlla fans won't sing the Demba Ba song this time.

I wouldn't bet on it ? after seeing the muppets that dressed up in Stevie's first home match im not sure self awareness is high on the list of the Villa fans.

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On 08/12/2021 at 17:33, dave u said:

 

Mostly midfield, but played at the back for them occasionally, that's why I included him.

He was better as a central defender, they were just so good there they needed him more in midfield.

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That was probably the most satisfying game of the season for me, in that there were so many performances that were miles better than could have been expected, and the fact that the opposition had something to play for.  This is not like an unexpected league cup win with the kids.  Truly encouraging.

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