Liverpool faces AC Milan in pre-season friendly - Would Milan steal this one?
Levi Stadium, Santa Clara, United States
Key Stat: 22 years. That's the age difference in years between AC Milan's first choice goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and Liverpool's back-up 'keeper here, former Arsenal man Alex Manninger.
Expert Verdict: Watch this game to see the new boys and how well they're settling in, for both sides. Don't expect a repeat performance of the awesome 2005 Champions League final, however. We expect a stop-start affair, lacking in top drawer quality. But we should see some goals. And for Liverpool, we think. 2-1 to the English side weâ€™re going for.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are likely want to inspect new signings like Dutchman Georginio Wijnaldum, ex-Southampton striker Sadio Mane, Loris Karius, Joel Matip, Ragnar Klavan and Marko Grujic all a little more in this effectively meaningless friendly. Sure they won’t want to lose, but this game is about fitness and gelling new recruits together and with the rest of the squad.
Belgian trio Simon Mignolet, Christian Benteke and Divock Origi have all travelled to America, despite their Euro 2016 exploits and efforts. As has the ridiculously handsome German utility player Emre Can. Sheyi Ojo may also play a role at some stage here. Mamadou Sakho, though, won’t feature. You may well have read about him having been sent home from the tour by his manager after concerns and question marks arose about his frame of mind and attitude.
Mignolet, Clyne, Matip, Klavan, Moreno, Ojo, Wijnaldum, Grujic, Can, Firmino, Origi.
New signings Vangioni and Lapadula are as eager to pull on the iconic shirt as Mian fans are to see what they’re made of. But, unfortunately for the pair of them, both are unavailable for the friendlies in the States due to different injuries. And they’re not the only absentees. Personnel including Zapata and Mauri are also going to miss out. Striker Carlos Bacca misses out as Premier League interest in him hots up. Rumours of a transfer to Slaven Bi lic’s West Ham persist and he’s not made the trip. Expect exciting teenage goalkeeper and heir apparent to Gianluigi Buffon’s Italian national jersey, seventeen year-old namesake Gianluigi Donnarumma to stand in between the sticks.
Donnarumma, Abate, Romagnoli, Ely, Vergara, Honda, Kucka, Montolivo, El Hilali, Matri, Suso.
The two giant teams in red have met each other twice in semi-recent times. Both in the UEFA Champions League, as you can imagine. The last time? Nine years ago. You might well remember. It was the final. Milan legend Pippo Inzaghi struck twice to give his side a 2-1 victory and take the trophy back to Italy. And get sweet revenge…
Revenge for what? Well, two years previous. The Champions League final of 2005 saw Liverpool overcoming AC Milan in what is, for many people, the greatest and most thrilling game of football ever played. 3-0 up at half time, the Rossoneri were cruising. A spirited fightback from Rafa Benitez’s men helped them claw the game back to 3-3 and penalties sealed it for them. What an amazing game it was!
As with any pre-season friendly, it’s hard to predict the outcome with anything approaching certainty. There’s no previous form to look at and team line-ups are hard to really be sure of. We really like the Klopp Kop crop of recent acquisitions, though. Wijnaldum and Mane should really push Liverpool forward this season and we fancy them to win here. Milan are still a decent side, but they’re not the team of old.
Check the teams before betting, but if Mane starts, we fancy him for first goalscorer. As for a result? You can get better than evens (11/10) on Liverpool here and that’s the bet we fancy. Want something with a little better odds? Mane to score at any time and Liverpool to win is worth a small punt, we reckon.