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Preview: Liverpool versus AC Milan

Liverpool host AC Milan, although both teams have made a brilliant start to their respective league seasons so far.

The Reds won three and won the other a draw, as Jürgen Klopp and Co. want to be an early pacemaker. Mo Salaha scored 100 goals in the Premier League over the weekend and continued his fearsome partnership with Sadio Mane at the helm.

With the return of Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip, the defense was so far airtight from the open game. While there are many comments on their lack of spending in the transfer window, they have all of their basics covered which will undoubtedly give them confidence to be the first to win a difficult encounter.

Stefano Pioli’s men were brilliant in the backend of last season and kept that dynamic. With three wins out of three and only one goal conceded, they currently lead the Serie A table. Her ability to continually harass her opponents and attack at breakneck speed was hugely successful.

The return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored a goal at the weekend, is a big boost to their attack while Mike Maignan has shown himself to be a capable replacement for Gianluigi Donnarumma in defense.

TEAM NEWS

Harvey Elliott suffered a terrible ankle injury against Leeds that will knock him out in the coming months. Jordan Henderson came on for the youngster and will as well as continue during the week.

PROBABLE LINE-UP: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago; Mane, salah, iota

Tiemoue Bakayoko, who was racially insulted, was replaced with an obvious ankle injury just 13 minutes after his substitution against Lazio. Ibrahimovic seems sure to start.

PROBABLE LINE-UP: Mainan; Calabria, Tomori, Kjaer, Hernandez; Kessie, Tonali; Rebic, Diaz, Leao; Ibrahimovic

GAME CHANGER

Aside from the dispute over his position, there is no doubt how good a creator Trent Alexander-Arnold is right now. He has already made 20 chances, including four goalscoring chances (both are high in the league) and two assists. In addition, he was also involved in 28 shot creation actions, which is not surprising given his high skill level.

His on-target flank precision and standard acumen mean that Milan will be very conscious not to let him roam free. Alexander-Arnold’s freedom of position from the entire midfield and the right flank does not make it so easy. His fast pace and ability to find pass holes to fend off attackers are increasingly important against a formidable defense.

Although the big Swede is at full speed, it is the player behind him who can prove to be an X-factor. Brahim Diaz is at home in Italy and has quickly become an integral part of the line-up. He has a pass rate of 89%, which increases to 94% over short and medium distances.

Diaz’s influential role is evident as he has already been involved in seven shooting and three goals. Given that Liverpool love to play, there will be spaces for Diaz to use, especially during the breaks. His low center of gravity and fast movement make his markers careful to challenge him, and with runners next to him he can either drop the ball or just shoot himself.

PREDICTION

Both teams started off strong and this will be a difficult duel on paper. The early swing of the game will surely help determine the winner. FootTheBall predicts a 2-1 win for Liverpool.

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