AC Milan legend Massimo Ambrosini fears Liverpool duo Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk, but believes the 2019 Champions League winners are vulnerable in defence, as he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
Winning three of their first four games of the new campaign – with an aggregate score of 9-1 by the way – Jurgen Klopp’s side could hardly be feeling more assured heading into their first ever competitive meeting with AC Milan at Anfield.
There is a fine line between confidence and cockiness, however, and absolutely no one on the red half of Merseyside should be expecting a comfortable beginning to their European campaign when the Rossoneri come to town.
Milan may not be the same fear-inducing force they were in the mid-2000s – when the two sides faced off twice in Champions League finals – but, under Stefano Pioli, the Italian giants are climbing the mountain once again after hitting rock bottom during seven years of disappointment and dissatisfaction.
Milan have won every one of the Serie A games they have played this season.
Even without the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a side boasting the speed of Rafael Leao, the guile of Olivier Giroud and the fearsome power of Liverpool-linked Franck Kessie should not be underestimated.
Can AC Milan cause a shock against Liverpool?
“Personality and game management,” Ambrosini said when asked about Milan’s best hope of securing a famous win in their first Champions League game in nearly a decade.
“Liverpool are a team that is not used to defending much and, when forced to do so for longer than usual, they get into trouble. Milan have many options and if you continue to hammer and force them to make many defensive decisions, it is easier for individuals to make errors.
“It would be good to be as intense as they are.”
Ambrosini is, however, wary about the presence of a rejuvenated Trent Alexander-Arnold and a titanic Virgil van Dijk.
“(Liverpool) is not the team of two years ago but also not the one of last year, which did not have Van Dijk, a fundamental player.
“It is a team that has recovered their technique and physical condition, starting with the full-backs, especially Alexander-Arnold. It is a team that has rhythm, speed, strength. And they have Anfield.”