Captain Davide Calabria has admitted that AC Milan could not live with a ‘formidable’ Liverpool side during their 3-2 UEFA Champions League defeat at Anfield, while speaking to Sky Sports, via Football Italia.
If you ignore that 1 minute and 48 second spell right at the end of the first-half, when Ante Rebic and Brahim Diaz turned a 1-0 deficit into a shock 2-1 lead, it would be no exaggeration to suggest that Milan failed to lay a single glove on Liverpool during a thrilling encounter that was far more one-sided than the eventual 3-2 score line would have you believe.
Pushed on by a rousing chorus of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, Jurgen Klopp’s rampant Reds delivered one of those classic ‘Champions League night at Anfield’ sort of performances in their group-stage opener.
The revitalised Trent Alexander-Arnold forced a ninth-minute opener, his cross deflecting in off ex-Chelsea youngster Fikayo Tomori, with second-half strikes from Mo Salah and Man of the Match Jordan Henderson ensuring that Milan’s breakneck double just before the interval counted for nothing.
Why did Liverpool beat AC Milan so comfortably?
“Liverpool started really strong, you can see they are accustomed to a different tempo and are one of the best teams in the world, with formidable players in every area,” said Calabria, the Italy international who skippered the side with Alessio Romagnoli on the bench.
“It was a difficult match and almost like several games in one. We didn’t feel afraid, we were just struggling to get a grip on the situation.
“We did and turned the game around, but made mistakes and should’ve been more concentrated to avoid conceding those two goals.”
While Liverpool won the competition just two years ago – and reached the final in 2018 – this was Milan’s first Champions League appearance in nearly a decade.
That lack of experience showed, too.
“In an atmosphere like this, the first time Milan were in the Champions League for seven years and the first time many of us were in the Champions League, against one of the best teams in the world, I’d say we did really well to turn it around and score two goals here,” Calabria added.
“We have to build on the positives, it’s only natural we’d struggle at times. Once we found our tempo, we managed to hurt them.”