Chris Sutton has claimed in his Daily Mail column that Liverpool have two ‘huge threats’ in Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota, and warns AC Milan could leave themselves exposed tonight.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds host the Rossoneri at Anfield to open their Champions League Group Stage campaign. Milan last featured in UEFA’s premier club competition in 2013/14, when they reached the Last 16. The San Siro outfit ended the Group Stage second to Barcelona.
Liverpool, meanwhile, will be looking to better last term’s Quarter Final exit in search of a seventh Champions League title. Only 13-time champions Real Madrid and seven-time winners AC Milan have lifted the trophy more often than the Merseyside natives.
Sutton believes Milan could struggle to stop Liverpool’s forward machine of Mane, Jota and Mohamed Salah on Wednesday if they stick to their favoured system. The Premier League winner with Blackburn notes how Stefano Pioli’s side utilise a high defensive line.
But the Rossoneri’s set-up could be a dream for the Reds frontline to attack. And Sutton warns Milan that Liverpool could exploit any space in behind through Mane and Jota.
“Milan’s Alessio Romagnoli and Fikayo Tomori didn’t give Serie A top scorer Ciro Immobile an inch in their 2-0 win over Lazio on Sunday,” Sutton said. “But Romagnoli said afterwards that playing a very high line was key to that victory. That would play into Liverpool’s hands if they apply the same strategy tonight.
“Klopp’s attackers love it when opponents leave them space in behind. Mohamed Salah looked like he was loving his football against Leeds, and Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota are huge threats when hanging on opponents’ shoulders all the same.”
Can Jota and Mane run Liverpool’s attack against Milan, like Sutton suspects?
Klopp will hope Jota and Mane run Liverpool’s attack and exploit the space Sutton expects AC Milan will leave tonight. The Rossoneri’s high backline has proven very difficult for Serie A sides to break thus far this term.
Pioli’s men have only conceded once in three league fixtures after an unbeaten start to the season. Alessandro Deiola’s goal for Cagliari was also a flying header after the 26-year-old outmuscled Davide Calabria. Rather than exploiting space behind Romagnoli and Tomori.
But, like Sutton says, Liverpool’s front-three that started Sunday’s 3-0 victory over Leeds of Mane, Jota and Salah will be threats for Milan when they meet in the Champions League.