Liverpool complete historic clean sweep as AC Milan are dumped out

·21-min read
AC Milan vs Liverpool live, Champions League: score and latest updates - GETTY IMAGES
AC Milan vs Liverpool live, Champions League: score and latest updates - GETTY IMAGES
  • Milan took the lead via Tomori before Salah swiftly struck back

  • Origi continued his good form, scoring the winner following a Tomori mistake

  • Liverpool become first English club to win all six of their games in a Champions League group stage

Divock Origi’s status as a Liverpool cult hero was established well before this week but at San Siro he added another entry to his showreel of significant goals.

Four days after rescuing his team-mates with a last-gasp winner at Wolves, here he stooped to head in a winner that ensured Jürgen Klopp’s side became the first English team to progress from the Champions League group stage with a 100 per cent record.

It may not have been as memorable as his goal in the 2019 final, but Origi keeps reminding us of his class off the bench. Klopp says being a world-class player does not mean being a regular for Liverpool.

Origi is proof of that. He showed coolness in front of goal when others may be tempted to snatch at their rare opportunities to hit the headlines. His winner meant Milan finished bottom of the group.

Earlier in the match, Mohamed Salah did his best to take a supposedly meaningless evening for Liverpool and turn it into an event.

With first place in their Champions League group already secured, the temptation would be to rest Salah to face Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa team at the weekend but he effortlessly glided around the San Siro and cancelled out Fikayo Tomori’s goal to break through the 20-goal barrier for the season with Christmas decorations barely put up.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah scores their side's first goal of the game during the UEFA Champions League, Group B match at the San Siro, Milan.  - PA
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah scores their side's first goal of the game during the UEFA Champions League, Group B match at the San Siro, Milan. - PA

It is the fifth campaign in a row he has reached 20 and he will surely reach Ian Rush’s six seasons in the final year of his current contract. Klopp says it takes more than an afternoon cup of tea to agree a new deal beyond that, but his value to Liverpool is clear.

Klopp had promised changes before the match, suggesting that his medical department would take a dim view on playing his first-team players with five matches in 15 days coming up in December.

But Salah is the type of player who sees every match as an opportunity to add to his goal tally, regardless of the fact Liverpool had already sealed top place in Group B and were safely in Monday’s draw for the last-16 before taking the flight to Milan.

With Sadio Mané also included, Klopp’s frontline was a selection that had a perfect record in the group stage in their sights. It was only further back in his team that the likes of Tyler Morton, 19, were given a chance to test himself against the highest level of club football.

Neco Williams, 20, was also fielded against a Milan team who had everything to play for, with all possibilities including the Europa League and complete elimination from Europe possible for them at the start of the evening.

They needed the result in Porto to go their way, coupled with a victory against the champions of three seasons ago. It was the type of tall order Zlatan Ibrahimovic has thrived on during his career and he led the Milan attack. He strolled around the pitch waiting for a chance to pounce.

At the other end, Tomori has been among Milan’s standout performers this season after taking the decision to leave the Premier League for Italy. He was the first to get sight of Alisson’s goal with a header from Franck Kessie’s free-kick.

To the naked eye, Tomori looks to have grown since his move, assuming the role of leader despite Alessio Romagnoli wearing the captain’s armband. He bravely threw himself in front of an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain shot to prevent one chance, while also picking the right times to carry the ball out of defence.

It was little surprise that he would be involved in breaking the deadlock for Milan. The England centre-back tapped in from a few yards out after Junior Messias’ corner had caused problems. Takumi Minamino appeared put off by Romagnoli’s presence and the delivery slipped through Liverpool’s barrier. Alisson could only parry towards Tomori, whose task was simple enough.

AC Milan's English defender Fikayo Tomori (Rear C) celebrates after opening the scoring during the UEFA Champions League Group B football match between AC Milan and Liverpool on December 7, 2021 at the San Siro stadium in Milan.  - AFP
AC Milan's English defender Fikayo Tomori (Rear C) celebrates after opening the scoring during the UEFA Champions League Group B football match between AC Milan and Liverpool on December 7, 2021 at the San Siro stadium in Milan. - AFP

The lead, however, did not last long as Salah levelled within six minutes. Mike Maignan was at fault for the equaliser, the France goalkeeper parrying Oxlade-Chamberlain’s shot into Salah’s path and the Egypt forward finding the roof of the net with his finish.

It meant another record chalked off by the Liverpool forward, setting a new club record for goals scored in a group stage of a European competition. It added to his goal against Milan at Anfield and those against Porto (3) and Atlético Madrid (2) when Liverpool had done the hard work in reaching the next round.

In the battle of the No 11s – Salah vs Ibrahimovic – it was the Liverpool forward who was having a bigger impact on the game. Ibrahima Konate did well guiding the Sweden forward into areas of the pitch where he could not pose a threat.

Milan were furious with Dutch referee Danny Makkelie for failing to award a penalty when Kostas Tsimikas bundled over Kessie, then were dealt a further blow with Origi’s goal.

In his first mistake of the game, Tomori mis-controlled a straightforward pass and Mane seized the initiative. He forced a save from Maignan but, like for Salah’s goal, his parry went into the path of the opponent. Origi steered his header for his second goal in four days.

AC Milan-Liverpool, as it happened:

10:11 PM

That's all from me...

But read Mike McGrath's match report for a full recap of Liverpool's victory.

09:57 PM

It has been an outstanding campaign from Liverpool

AC Milan were a little disappointing tonight, given they needed a win to go through. Atletico beat Porto 3-1 in the end, taking second place in the pool.

09:55 PM

FULL TIME: Milan 1 Liverpool 2

Oxlade-Chamberlain is played through on goal by Keita but he butchers the shot.

Two changes for Liverpool and two 18-year-olds on; Woltman for Minamino, Bradley for Williams.

That is that! Liverpool become the first English team to win all six of their Champions League group matches!

09:50 PM

90 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 2

Atletico are now 2-0 up against Porto, looks like they are going through with Liverpool.

There will be three minutes of added time.

09:49 PM

89 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 2

The lively Kessié drives into the Liverpool box and Konate makes a vital challenge just before a shot can be releases. This aggression has come too late for Milan!

They win another free kick in a good position. The resulting cross is headed clear.

09:47 PM

87 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 2

Milan's new-found urgency continues. Hernandez has a dart at the Liverpool box and is fouled before he can reach it.

The ball is whipped in and Kessié flicks his header over the bar.

09:45 PM

85 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 2

Keita gives the ball away and Milan counter. Kessié picks out Zlatan in the box who attempts an overhead kick! He makes connection with the ball but it skews off in the right direction.

Kessié is then played through one-on-one. He takes his time before dinking his shot into the face of Alisson - great save, I guess!

09:43 PM

83 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 2

Keita gives away a foul 35 yards out from the Liverpool goal. Zlatan is over the ball - but he cannot beat the wall. That was underwhelming.

Another change for Milan; Bakayoko for Krunic.

09:40 PM

80 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 2

Tsimikas uses some sharp footwork to make space for a cross but he then puts it straight behind. Origi is coming off, replaced by Fabinho.

09:37 PM

77 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 2

Milan break into the Liverpool box but an off-balance cross ends up in the hands of Alisson. Ibrahimovic attempts a clever through ball but Alisson just wins the race to it.

09:35 PM

75 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 2

Milan are not showing the urgency of a team that need two goals in 15 minutes to progress to the last-16.

09:32 PM

72 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 2

Oxlade-Chamberlain and Williams both go down next to each other after separate tackles. Williams is fine, the Ox looks a little more sore.

09:29 PM

69 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 2

Zlatan runs in behind, earning a corner for his side. The resulting delivery beats everyone, however.

Milan flood towards the box in numbers but Phillips calmly wins the ball back. At the other end, Origi has a free header but he puts it wide of the post. There was no defender near him!

09:27 PM

67 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 2

Origi drags a left-footed shot from the edge of the box well wide.

A loose pass puts Alisson under pressure but he scrambles the ball clear.

09:24 PM

64 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 2

Liverpool win a corner after some sharp work by Salah. Milan head it clear, doing the same to the second ball.

Another Liverpool corner is well dealt with by the hosts. Changes for Liverpool; Keita on for Salah, Gomez on for Mane.

09:21 PM

61 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 2

Messias rolls the ball to Krunic who bends the ball just over the top corner from the edge of the box.

09:20 PM

60 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 2

Two changes for Milan; Bennacer on for Diaz, Saelemaekers for Tonali.

09:17 PM

57 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 2

Atletico have taken the lead against Porto just as Origi scored - so they are currently going through with Liverpool.

The visitors come again, winning a corner. The initial ball is headed away but they win another corner. The next ball in is also cleared.

09:16 PM

GOOOOOOAAAAAAL1! Origi! Milan 1 Liverpool 2

Origi does it again! Tomori miscontrols the ball. It falls to Mane who has a strong shot saved. The ball comes back to Origi who heads it into the empty net! Liverpool lead after a bad mistake from Tomori.

09:14 PM

54 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 1

Tsimikas has a cross deflected. It falls to Salah who curls a shot from the edge of the box into the arms of Maignan.

Williams is tripped in a good area for a cross. The ball is whipped in towards Phillips but it is headed clear before a foul on the keeper is awarded. That was a bit soft.

09:12 PM

52 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 1

Milan win a corner and take it short. Kessie shoots from a very tight angle and it does not trouble Alisson.

09:11 PM

50 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 1

Minamino cuts in from the left, bending a well struck shot over the bar. Not too much intensity on show from the hosts who need to win tonight.

Kessie breaks into the Liverpool box and goes down under pressure from Tsimikas. There is a lot of appealing from Milan but no decision comes. Var is not interested either.

09:07 PM

47 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 1

Milan attack down the right before being forced to turn back. Liverpool win it and exploit some space down the right via Salah before they too lose it.

09:05 PM

The second half is under way

Remember, Milan need to win to go through alongside Liverpool.

08:52 PM

Remarkable consistency from Mohamed Salah

08:48 PM

Liverpool have been marginally the better side

Not much in this one. As it stands, Porto are joining Liverpool in the last-16 instead of Milan.

08:48 PM

HALF TIME: Milan 1 Liverpool 1

Liverpool build an attack nicely. Origi then cuts onto his right, launching a wild shot into the packed stands.

That's the half.

08:46 PM

45 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 1

Milan apply pressure down the right but Liverpool hold firm.

There will be two minutes of added time.

08:43 PM

42 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 1

As it stands, Porto are now going through instead of Milan. The hosts need to win to progress.

Konate breaks up the play nicely but then fires a loose pass back to Milan.

Williams lunges in, giving away a free kick in the Milan half.

08:39 PM

39 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 1

Mane has a shot deflected into the side netting. The flag goes up after the effort, everyone was already reacting like he was offside.

08:38 PM

A rarity...

08:37 PM

GOOOOOOAAAAAAL! Salah! Milan 1 Liverpool 1

Oxlade-Chamberlain drives forward, hitting a powerful shot towards goal. The ball is saved but falls to Salah who hits the ball into the roof of the net!

08:35 PM

35 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 0

Salah's cross is deflected into the path of Oxlade-Chamberlain. He strikes a half-volley nicely but it is deflected out for yet another corner. And, once more, Milan head the ball clear. Tsimikas' delivery has not been great tonight.

08:32 PM

32 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 0

Liverpool win another corner down the left. Tsimikas' ball into the box is volleyed clear. Liverpool come again. Origi executes some neat footwork to make room for a shot. It is well struck, but straight at the keeper.

08:31 PM

30 mins: Milan 1 Liverpool 0

As it stands, Milan are now going through with Liverpool as Porto are currently drawing with Atletico.

08:30 PM

GOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! Tomori! Milan 1 Liverpool 0

The corner is not dealt with at the front post. Alisson parries the ball back into the box and Tomori hits it home from close range! Big goal against the run of play for Milan!

08:29 PM

28 mins: Milan 0 Liverpool 0

Kalulu dives in on Mane. Free kick. A corner follows.

The ball falls to ground in the box, Konate has a swipe at it but his effort is blocked and hoofed clear.

Milan counter, breaking down the right. Ibrahimovic slows the play in the Liverpool box before having a shot deflected behind for a corner.

08:25 PM

25 mins: Milan 0 Liverpool 0

Salah picks out Mane on the edge of the box. His return pass is put behind for a corner.

Tsimikas bends the ball towards the six-yard box and Zlatan heads it away - there he is!

08:23 PM

23 mins: Milan 0 Liverpool 0

Ibrahimovic has been very quiet so far. That's not like him.

08:22 PM

21 mins: Milan 0 Liverpool 0

The corner finds Konate but he directs his header well wide of the goal.

Minamino and Kessie grapple for the ball with the Milan midfielder giving away a free kick.

08:20 PM

19 mins: Milan 0 Liverpool 0

A ball over the top looks like it will reach Hernandez but Phillips just wins the race with a sliding challenge.

Hernandez drives forward in acres of space but Williams tackles him, starting a counter. Oxlade-Chamberlain's shot from the edge of the shot is blocked.

Williams then whips a cross to the front post which Tomori puts behind for a corner.

08:16 PM

16 mins: Milan 0 Liverpool 0

Tsimikas has plenty of room down the left but sends a poor cross out for a goal kick. Liverpool attack down the left again, Mane puts an inviting ball into the box but Romagnoli gets there first to clear.

08:15 PM

14 mins: Milan 0 Liverpool 0

Hernandez attempts a cross from the left but Williams stop it with a diving block. Good defending.

Romagnoli has stayed down after a coming together with Origi. He looks like he will continue.

08:12 PM

11 mins: Milan 0 Liverpool 0

Kessié looks to play Díaz in down the left but there is too much on the pass. Not a lot of quality on show from either side so far.

08:09 PM

9 mins: Milan 0 Liverpool 0

Messias picks out Tomori from the free kick but his header is straight into the arms of Alisson.

08:08 PM

7 mins: Milan 0 Liverpool 0

Liverpool are dominating early possession, not looking like the side who have nothing to play for tonight.

A loose pass from Konate is picked off Krunic, Williams fouls him, shutting down the attack.

08:05 PM

4 mins: Milan 0 Liverpool 0

Salah finds space on the right wing. He rolls the ball to Williams who hits a tame shot straight at the keeper.

08:03 PM

2 mins: Milan 0 Liverpool 0

Milan win the ball back and spread play around calmly.

08:01 PM

Here we go!

Liverpool get us under way.

07:57 PM

The players are out onto the pitch

A superb atmosphere greets them.

07:34 PM

150 up for Alisson tonight!

07:21 PM

AC Milan and Liverpool have not played each other too often

This will be only the fourth meeting between AC Milan and Liverpool, with all four coming in the Uefa Champions League. Both teams have won one game apiece in the previous three, while their 'draw' came in the 2005 final which Liverpool went onto win on penalties.

07:05 PM

And here is the AC Milan XI for this evening

07:03 PM

Here is tonight's Liverpool side

Liverpool centre-back Nat Phillips is handed his first start of the season as one of eight changes for their final Champions League group match against AC Milan.

The fifth-choice central defender has previously only played the second half of a Carabao Cup tie against Preston and made a late substitute appearance against Atletico Madrid last month.

Manager Jurgen Klopp changes his entire back four and midfield for the dead rubber, having qualified as group winners with two matches to spare.

That means a second successive European start for 19-year-old midfielder Tyler Morton, with Saturday's match-winner at Wolves, Divock Origi, coming in up front either side of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

04:12 PM

Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport's live coverage of Milan-Liverpool

By Mike McGrath in Milan

Jurgen Klopp is confident Mohamed Salah will sign a new contract at Liverpool and believes only the complexities of a deal for a player of his profile has delayed him committing to the club.

Salah, the Premier League’s top scorer this season, has one full campaign left on his current terms and spoke on Egyptian television over the weekend and insisted the issue was in the hands of the club as he wants to remain at Anfield.

While he turns 30 next June, Salah is also arguably the most effective current player in Europe and his status would command a salary in excess of £400,000-a-week judged on the current market.

“We are talking. You know exactly what it’s about,” said Klopp. “Extending a contract for a player like Mo is not a thing you do meeting for a cup of tea in the afternoon and find an agreement. That is completely normal.

“Mo speaks about it when he gets asked about it. I can only really say a few things because the rest is not for the public but I’m not sure if the interview was translated from Arabic to English as that is a massive issue. A lot of things can happen when someone tries to do that.

“He is fine. I’m fine. What we all want is clear and things like this need time.”

Klopp has not ruled out playing Salah tonight in Milan despite his team already securing a place in the knockout stages as group winners.

AC Milan have everything to play for - they can qualify for the Champions League, Europa League or get eliminated completely - but Klopp will make changes to cope with six more games in December when his squad returns from Italy.

He also has one eye on Saturday’s clash against Aston Villa when he will be reunited with Steven Gerrard in the opposite dugout,

“We have to rotate, that is clear,” said Klopp. “The medical department will smash me if I play the same side again, so we will make changes. We will try to get fresh legs, a higher energy level, and that gives you a chance to win the game.”

With that in mind, Klopp said “it’s pretty likely” that Divock Origi will start at the San Siro after his last-gasp winner at Wolves on Saturday, adding another priceless goal to his haul despite his lack of regular first-team games.

Divock Origi of Liverpool scores the first goal during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Liverpool at Molineux on December 04, 2021 in Wolverhampton, England.  - GETTY IMAGES
Divock Origi of Liverpool scores the first goal during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Liverpool at Molineux on December 04, 2021 in Wolverhampton, England. - GETTY IMAGES

“Moan is not the right word but he knocked on my door and we talked about a few things,” said Klopp. “We worked together as long as I’ve been here so it’s happened from time to time.

“But if you are not a starter for Liverpool you can still be a world-class player, it is really possible. His technical level is incredible, he is really quick and in the air he is a monster as well. It doesn’t mean you are a constant starter for Liverpool but there are worse things in life. You can only win things with a fantastic squad.”

It will be Klopp’s first time playing at Milan’s famous ground and he is likely to face Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with the stage seemingly set for another of the Sweden forward’s great feats - to get his team into the last-16 from an improbable position.

“Ibrahimovic is a great player. It is great to have players like him and Mo playing but thank goodness they are not the only two on the pitch or the San Siro would be too big,” said Klopp.

Milan are also set to field England centre-back Fikayo Tomori, who is eyeing a memorable victory after the thrilling 3-2 defeat at the start of the group. “We want to win and I think this is the mentality we must have,” he said.

“Liverpool have a great team, but we know we are strong too. They have intensity and quality, they’ve obtained great results in Champions League and the Premier League, but we’ve also done a great job lately.”

“I think we’ve improved a lot as a team. Earlier in the season was the first Champions League game for many and it was difficult to adapt. Now we’ve played five and we must play a crucial one to qualify for the last 16. We’ll need the same commitment.”

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