We’ve got a Champions League clash to get the nostalgia flowing like few others on our hands tonight as Liverpool welcome AC Milan to Anfield.
The two sides, of course, met in perhaps the most famous game in the competition’s history in the 2005 final, when Liverpool came from 3-0 down at half-time in Istanbul to complete an incredible comeback on penalties, before Milan gained revenge with a 2-1 victory in the final two years later.
Between them, the two sides have won the European Cup 13 times, their tallies second and third only to Real Madrid, but this will be Milan’s first group stage campaign since the 2013/14 season after a fallow period for the Rossoneri.
Liverpool, of course, have more recent pedigree, winning the tournament for a sixth time in 2019, having been beaten in the final 12 months earlier, but they had to watch on with envy last season as Premier League rivals Manchester City and Chelsea fought out an all-English final.
You can follow all the action LIVE with Standard Sport’s blog below...
GOAL! Henderson stunner restores lead
GOAL! Salah makes amends with leveller
GOAL! Two in two minutes for Milan
MISS! Salah penalty saved
GOAL! Alexander-Arnold opens scoring
FT: Liverpool 3-2 AC Milan
21:52 , Malik Ouzia
A superb game of football, decided by a wonderful goal.
21:48 , Malik Ouzia
90+1 mins: There’ll be five minutes of added time...
21:46 , Malik Ouzia
89 mins: Even better news for Liverpool is that it’s still goalless in the game between Atletico Madrid and Porto, so as things stands they’ll be gaining a significant early advantage in what has the potential to be a very tight group.
21:41 , Malik Ouzia
83 mins: Daniel Maldini, son of the AC Milan legend Paolo, who of course scored against Liverpool in the 2005 Champions League final, is on for the final few minutes.
For the home side, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replace the second-half goalscorers, Henderson and Salah.
21:38 , Malik Ouzia
80 mins: Unsurprisingly, AC Milan are looking to get early crosses in towards Olivier Giroud but so far Joel Matip has kept him shackled. Ten minutes to go in a game that you don’t really want to end.
21:31 , Malik Ouzia
74 mins: And Jones is straight into the action, weaving across the box and bending for the far corner on his left foot but not getting quite enough curl on it.
21:28 , Malik Ouzia
71 mins: A double change for Liverpool straight after that goal - Jota and Keita make way for Thiago and Curtis Jones.
GOAL! Liverpool 3-2 AC Milan | Jordan Henderson 69'
21:26 , Malik Ouzia
This is Gerrard-esque from the Liverpool skipper. He waits for the corner to be cleared on the edge of the box and then crashes a rasping half-volley into the bottom corner. Wonderful technique.
21:26 , Malik Ouzia
68 mins: Block!
Jota sells one defender, dummying his way across the box and then must think he
21:20 , Malik Ouzia
63 mins: Divock Origi’s had a decent game tonight but it’s going to end prematurely - after a bit of treatment in the centre-circle he makes way and Sadio Mane is on.
21:18 , Malik Ouzia
61 mins: Well, most of Liverpool’s threat has been down the right but Andy Robertson fancies getting in on the act and stings the palms of Maignan from long range.
21:13 , Malik Ouzia
56 mins: Olivier Giroud is getting some final instructions. Looks like the former Chelsea and Arsenal man will be on shortly.
21:11 , Malik Ouzia
53 mins: It’s just like the beginning of the first half at the moment, Liverpool pouring forward at will with Salah looking more and more in the groove.
GOAL! Liverpool 2-2 AC Milan | Mo Salah 49’
21:06 , Malik Ouzia
That’s the way to respond!
Mo Salah latches onto a lovely flick from Origi and crashes past a hesitant Maignan. The Egyptian thinks he might be offside but the full-back on the opposite flank is playing him on and the Reds are level.
21:05 , Malik Ouzia
46 mins: What a massive let off, although, weirdly, it’s actually sort of good defending that alows Liverpool to get away with it.
Milan take a short corner and Liverpool immediately charge out of the six-yard box and catch the man recieving the return lay-off offside.
I’m not sure Jordan Henderson knows that as he misses his kick in the middle, though, and leaves Kjaer with a tap in at the far post.
21:02 , Malik Ouzia
We are back underway at Anfield...
20:58 , Malik Ouzia
Well, Liverpool need a comeback of their own now, which of course lends itself to all sorts of narrative in this fixture. On the basis of the first 40 minutes of that half, it’s well within them, with the likes of Sadio Mane waiting in the wings, too.
A mad, mad end to the half...
20:53 , Malik Ouzia
AC Milan have completely turned this game around! 🤯
Despite Liverpool dominating the first half, Ante Rebic and Brahim Díaz have put the visitors ahead...
One minute and 48 seconds between the two goals! 😳 pic.twitter.com/4WKUzIgn9A
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 15, 2021
HT: Liverpool 1-2 AC Milan
20:47 , Malik Ouzia
Well that was lively.
GOAL! Liverpool 1-2 AC Milan | Brahim Diaz 44'
20:44 , Malik Ouzia
Can you believe it?!
Milan come pouring forward again and though Robertson gets back brilliantly to deny Rebic on the line it’s Diaz who is sweeping in to poke home the goal that - remarkably - puts AC Milan ahead!
GOAL! Liverpool 1-1 AC Milan | Ante Rebic 42’
20:42 , Malik Ouzia
It might be against the run of play but it’s wonderful football, sharp, first-time stuff and Rebic sweeps home.
And they’re not done there...
20:38 , Malik Ouzia
37 mins: Aye, aye! The ball’s popped. It came at the end of a half-decent Milan attack, though I think it was Fabinho’s interception that did the damage. Someone check his studs.
20:35 , Malik Ouzia
34 mins: Even by his usual standards, Alexander-Arnold is playing ridiculously high up the pitch. He’s chopping inside onto his left foot this time and eventually being crowded out but he looks such a threat.
20:31 , Malik Ouzia
30 mins: As I write that, Salah almost makes it two, cushioning it up nicely to strike on the half-volley and forcing the ‘keeper to tip over the bar.
20:29 , Malik Ouzia
29 mins: Better from Milan in the last five minutes or so as they finally manage to hold onto the ball for long enough to make some progress up the pitch. Gomez and Matip both end up making fairly routine clearances inside the box but still, green shoots.
20:26 , Malik Ouzia
25 mins: Finally, things have calmed down a tiny bit, though mainly because there have been a couple of free-kicks so the ball hasn’t been in play quite as much. When it is, Liverpool are relentless.
20:23 , Malik Ouzia
22 mins: Well, if AC Milan are as bad as they’ve looked in this first quarter of the game then Liverpool will win by plenty tonight, but if it is just a case of being a bit shell-shocked by this fast start and they manage to get to grips with it then you do wonder if the home side might regret not being a couple more to the good.
20:19 , Malik Ouzia
19 mins: Liverpool have had 13 shots...
20:15 , Malik Ouzia
Mo Salah tries to power down the middle but Maignan gets everything behind it and then gets up to smother the rebound, too!
Milan are just about still in this.
Penalty to Liverpool!
20:13 , Malik Ouzia
Oh dear, oh dear. Milan are in dire straits.
Robertson flicks the ball up and volleys at goal and it flies behind off the arm of Bennacer. I didn’t even notice it in real time, but he has got his arm extended.
20:13 , Malik Ouzia
12 mins: Great block. Mo Salah’s giving Hernandez a torrid time and twists him up again before pulling the trigger on his right foot but Tomori comes flying across to slide in and divert it behind.
GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 AC Milan | Trent Alexander-Arnold 9'
20:09 , Malik Ouzia
It’d been coming!
Liverpool have been all over AC Milan and they have the early lead that their dominance deserves. It’ll be interesting to see if Alexander-Arnold keeps this goal because his strike from a tight angle may have been heading across goal until it takes a looping deflection off Tomori that does for his ‘keeper.
20:09 , Malik Ouzia
8 mins: Milan don’t know what’s hit them at the moment. Theo Hernandez is caught dawdling on it by Origi and only Kjaer’s interception in the middle stops it reaching Jota, who would have had a sitter. From the resulting corner, Matip leaps highest and guides a good header towards the far corner but Maignan reads it early and is across to pluck it out of the air.
20:06 , Malik Ouzia
6 mins: More early threat from Liverpool, this time through Diogo Jota, who charges forward and sees his shot take a nick wide.
20:04 , Malik Ouzia
4 mins: Massive chance. Robertson gallops down the left as is his wont and delivers early with Henderson and Origi in the middle. It’s the latter who connects at the front post but not firmly enough and it drifts past the far.
20:03 , Malik Ouzia
2 mins: Liverpool have flown out of the traps, attacking the Kop, and Keita sees a long-range effort blocked before Origi drives into the box and Salah makes a nuisance of himself at the back post. Milan hold firm for now.
20:00 , Malik Ouzia
We are up and running...
19:59 , Malik Ouzia
The teams are out at a raucous Anfield. Almost showtime...
19:54 , Malik Ouzia
For the first time in a long time - since March 2019, in fact - a full house at Anfield on a European night is belting out You’ll Never Walk Alone.
Fingers crossed for a game that lives up to the atmosphere.
And Jurgen Klopp agrees...
19:48 , Malik Ouzia
“This is the strongest group we’ve had since I’ve been at Liverpool,” said Jurgen Klopp.
“In 2012-2013 at Dortmund, I think we had Manchester City, Real Madrid and Ajax - that was a proper group.
“This group keeps out two really good teams from knockouts and delivers one strong team to the Europa League.
“I never understand when people talk about changes to the Champions League. I like the Champions League how it is and this group shows there are no games where people will think ‘do I really want to watch that’.
“It will be exciting from the first second to the last second. I can’t see any kind of early decisions made in this group.”
19:29 , Malik Ouzia
I’ll be honest, looking at the Champions League groups this season there are some properly underwhelming matchups, groups that look low on quality or just too predictable.
This, however, is not one of them. With Atletico Madrid and Porto in the mix, we’ve got four big European names and while Liverpool and Atleti will be favourites to advance, you wouldn’t expect any of their fixtures to be particularly easy games.
The hosts have arrived...
19:15 , Malik Ouzia
AC Milan team news
19:05 , Malik Ouzia
Milan XI: Maignan; Calabria, Kjær, Tomori, Hernández; Kessie, Bennacer; Saelemaekers, Díaz, Leão; RebiÄ.
Subs: Jungdal, TÄtÄruÈanu; Ballo-Touré, Florenzi, Gabbia, Kalulu, Romagnoli; Tonali; Giroud, Maldini.
18:57 , Malik Ouzia
So, Joe Gomez makes his first Liverpool start since November as he replaces the rested Virgil Van Dijk for tonight’s game.
The centre-back missed most of last season with a knee injury but is back in the side to allow Van Dijk, whose campaign was ended even earlier last year, a break.
There are three more changes for Jurgen Klopp’s side, with out-of-favour forward Divock Origi, who has made just three appearances since January, promoted to the team with Sadio Mane rested, while Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita replace Thiago Alcantara and the injured Harvey Elliott in midfield.
Liverpool team news
18:42 , Malik Ouzia
Liverpool XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Gomez, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Keita, Jota, Salah, Origi
Subs: Adrian, Kelleher, Van Dijk, Konate, Thiago, Milner, Mane, Tsimikas, Phillips, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Minanimo
Elliott expected to play again this season
18:35 , Malik Ouzia
Of course, Liverpool are without Harvey Elliott tonight, the youngster having made such an impressive start to the season, only to see his breakthrough cut short by that horrific injury at Elland Road on Sunday.
There has been a positive update in the days since, though, with the 18-year-old having undergone succesful surgery and expected to be able to play again before the end of the season.
“We were able to reduce the dislocation immediately on the pitch and Harvey had surgery today to repair the fracture and ligaments damaged in the incident,” club doctor Jim Moxon told LiverpoolFC.com.
“The operation was a success so his comeback starts now.
“We won’t put pressure on him by setting a specific timeframe beyond being able to say with confidence we expect him to feature again later in the season following our rehab programme.”
Unchartered territory for Milan
18:20 , Malik Ouzia
It’s strange, in a way, that football fans of a certain age will probably consider this one of the iconic Champions League matchups because of those two finals in the mid-2000s, and the 2005 final in particular.
But it’s worth remembering that those two games are actually the only meetings between these two sides in European competition, meaning tonight will be AC Milan’s first ever competitive game at Anfield, which seems a bit mad.
Standard Sport prediction
18:11 , Malik Ouzia
On the first European night at Anfield with a crowd since the now infamous clash with Atletico Madrid as the coronavirus pandemic was first taking hold in the UK, Liverpool will surely be spurred to victory in this clash between historically two heavyweights.
Liverpool to win 2-0.
17:58 , Malik Ouzia
Liverpool will be without youngster Harvey Elliott for an extended period after the midfielder suffered a horrific leg injury in Sunday’s victory over Leeds, while Roberto Firmino remains out injured.
Olivier Giroud could make a swift return to England following his departure from Chelsea this summer, having returned from a Covid-enforced absence but Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been ruled out as he manages an Achilles issue.
How to watch
17:45 , Malik Ouzia
TV channel: Tonight’s match will be televised on BT Sport 2, coverage starting at 7pm.
Live stream: BT Sport subscribers will be able to watch the match online via the website or BT Sport app.
17:35 , Malik Ouzia
Hello and welcome to Standard Sport’s LIVE coverage of tonight’s Champions League group stage clash between Liverpool and AC Milan.
We’lll have all the team news and build-up ahead of an 8pm kick-off at Anfield...