Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Liverpool Miami Bound After Dispatching Milan

After seeing Olympiakos defeat Manchester City in a penalty shootout, Liverpool knew they were guaranteed a place in Monday's final against rivals Manchester United as they took on AC Milan.

Liverpool had the better of the opening exchanges with the majority of the possession over the Italians and turned the dominance into an end product in the 17th minute when Joe Allen raced towards goal before hitting a shot that cannoned off the post and into the path of Raheem Sterling.

Sterling's effort drew a save from Abbiati but the rebound fell nicely for Allen who fired past the AC stopper into the net to give Liverpool a 1-0 lead. Jordan Henderson looked to test Abbiati from a dangerous looking free-kick but could only find the Milan wall while Sebastian Coates blocked a fine effort from Niang at the other end.

Liverpool were awarded a penalty just after the half-hour mark when Sterling drew a foul from Rami and up stepped Rickie Lambert to take the penalty but despite a powerful shot it failed to beat Abbiati who denied the Englishman with a fine save.

A vast array of changes for both sides included the highly-linked Mario Balotelli who looked to test Simon Mignolet from a dangerous free-kick but it proved to cause no trouble for the Belgian stopper and Liverpool's continuing lead allowed them to rest a few players for the upcoming final on the hour mark.

One of the changes saw the introduction of Conor Coady who looked for an early impact when he and Emre Can teed up Steven Gerrard for a trademark piledriver but sadly the effort failed to test the AC 'keeper and at the other end, Mignolet came out well to deny Balotelli from what seemed to be a likely goal.

Liverpool confirmed the win late on with Suso adding the second goal with just a couple of minutes remaining to ensure Liverpool would go into the final unbeaten and with two clean sheets from three games in the competition.