Liverpool 3 AC Milan 2: Henderson's brilliant volley seals another Reds comeback vs Italians in Anfield thriller

IT might not quite have been the Miracle of Istanbul but this belting opener in the Champions League Group of Death served up two comebacks for the price of one. 

Jordan Henderson hammered a brilliant winner as Liverpool overturned a half-time deficit, having themselves been stunned by a two-goal blast from Milan shortly before the break. 

Jurgen Klopp promised that this group – which also includes Spanish champions Atletico Madrid and former European kings Porto – would provide excitement ‘from the first minute to the last’. 

And the German wasn’t wrong – as he rested three key players and almost paid for his arrogance. 

This was once-mighty Milan’s first Champions League appearance in seven years – and their first ever visit to Anfield. 

And while there had been much pre-match talk of Liverpool’s epic comeback from 3-0 down to defeat Milan in the 2005 final, few would have expected a match as frenetic as this. 

Trent Alexander-Arnold fired the Reds in front and Mo Salah had a penalty saved before Milan turned the encounter on its head with strikes from Ante Rebic and Brahim Diaz. 

But Salah netted an equaliser before Henderson’s peach and Liverpool had overcome their meltdown to secure a deserved win. 


Both of these clubs, with 13 European Cups between them, had been part of the hated breakaway Super League scheme which was swiftly quashed last spring. 

They ought to have known better, as the existing Champions League format rarely disappoints in the knock-out stage – and it can be tasty in the group phase too when there is a group served up like this one. 

Klopp made the shock decision to bench Virgil Van Dijk, Sadio Mane and Thiago Alcantara, with Joe Gomez and Divock Origi both handed their first starts of the season. 

But it didn’t seem to matter as Liverpool started like the clappers, with textbook manic workrate and their rampaging full-backs setting the tempo. 

First Andy Robertson motored down the left and flashed in a cross which Origi sliced wide. 

Then from a Roberton cut-back, Diogo Jota’s shot was deflected wide. 

But the breakthrough came down the right, from Alexander-Arnold – mistrusted by England boss Gareth Southgate but cherished by Klopp. 

The Scouser played a neat give-and-go with Salah, snuck in behind his man and saw a shot deflect off Fikayo Tomori and inside the far post for a ninth-minute opener.

The relentless pace continued, Milan being pinned back and battered.

Soon Liverpool had a penalty, Robertson’s cross striking the raised arm of Ismael Bennager.

But Salah, making his 100th Anfield appearance for Liverpool, showed a rare glimpse of mortality.

He fired his penalty too close to keeper Mike Maignan, who made an excellent double save, also pushing away Jota’s header from the rebound. 

Maignan was at it again, tipping over a half-volley from Salah. Milan had lost their superstar keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma to Paris St Germain in the summer but his replacement was keeping them in the match. 

Liverpool’s shock-and-awe tactics has started to subside but Milan had barely threatened before their stunning double-strike late in the first half. 

The first was a sweet passing move which ended with Franck Kessie feeding Rebic, who lashed home in front of a travelling support in the Anfield Road end who looked as shocked as they were delighted.  

If that wasn’t chastening enough for Klopp’s men were ahead less than two minutes later. 

This time, Kessie made a surging run, Rebic squared and an Alexis Saelemaekers shot was cleared off the line by Robertson, only for Diaz to react quickest and gleefully tap home.

With The Kop temporarily stunned into silence, the Reds retreated to their dressing room wondering how on Earth they were behind at the break. 

It might have been even worse straight after the interval when Saelemaekers netted from a short corner only to be ruled out for offside. 

Stung by all this mayhem, Liverpool swiftly equalised, Origi with a dinked through-ball and Salah steering home to finally beat Maignan. 

It was all Liverpool again now, Milan defending desperately, and Jota’s shot deflected over. 

From the resulting Alexander-Arnold corner a header was cleared to Henderson who drilled into the corner of the net on the half-volley with great technique and serious venom. 


It was the skipper’s first Champions League goal in seven years and it was a critical one, in a match where dropped home points could well have proved very costly.

Milan sent on Olivier Giroud, who had his menacing moments, but Klopp’s men continued to make most of the running. 

They had missed their European nights in front of full houses at Anfield over the past 18 months – and this had been a vintage one. 

    Source: Read Full Article