THere will be a capacious Anfield crowd on a Champions League night for the first time since the last 16 losses against Atletico Madrid in March 2020, one of the last major events before the coronavirus lockdown.
Liverpool will get a chance to take revenge against Atletico later in the group stage, but their opening is a fixture with less resonance as they face AC Milan in the 2005 and 2007 replays. The events of the first final in Istanbul need some introduction – a possible 3-0 comeback against a team of modern bigs gave Liverpool fans the night of their lives. Tonight, these two aristocrats of European football played a competitive match for the first time outside the Champions League final.
In these previous meetings it was Liverpool who punched a team with European success in the recent past, but there may be a situation where the roles are reversed. Milan are making their Champions League debut since 2013-14 and are in the midst of an extensive restructuring. Liverpool were a finalist in 2018 before getting better in 2019 and are one of the leading contenders for the crown this season, along with three other Premier League clubs PSG and Bayern Munich.
Milan will not be able to play due to injury from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who will turn 40 next month. There are other Chelsea connections in the Milan squad, where Fikayo Tomori is impressive at the centre-back and Tiémoué Bakayoko is a midfielder option. Former Manchester City and Arsenal youth players Brahim Diaz and Ismael Bennacer provide creativity and quality in the attacking midfield. It was a good start to the season at home, conceding nine points out of nine, seven goals and one goal in Serie A.
Liverpool will of course miss Harvey Elliott after the horrific dislocated ankle in Leeds, Roberto Firmino is expected to be absent again, which will likely mean the front trio of Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah.
Full team news coming soon.