Combined XI: Liverpool vs AC Milan

A look at the best-combined XI for Liverpool's first Champions League match of the campaign vs AC Milan.
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Liverpool vs AC Milan has a rich Champions League history. The legendary 2005 match with Liverpool’s dramatic comeback after a 3-0 deficit at halftime went down as one of the greatest finals to ever be played. 

AC Milan got their revenge two years later, though, beating Liverpool 2-1 in the final to lift the cup.

In the 2005 match, Liverpool were the underdogs against a vastly superior Milan, but in the 2007 final, Liverpool were the favorites. 

Wednesday’s upcoming match will be only the third time the two have faced each other in European competition, and the bookies favor this time around Liverpool.

The Combined XI features almost all Liverpool players, and Milan is unfortunate they don't have at least one more in the squad.

Goalkeeper - Alisson Becker

Alisson Becker Burnley Turf Moor

Alisson Becker

Gianluigi Donnarumma might have given Alisson a test for starting goalkeeper, but Liverpool’s Brazilian is the clear choice since the Italian showstopper moved to Paris Saint-Germain.

Milan’s Mike Maignan has filled in the hole of Donnarumma’s departure well, but he doesn’t have the pedigree of Alisson.

Liverpool’s goalkeeper has had some fantastic nights in the Champions League and will be an immense presence in the team on Wednesday.

Right Back - Trent Alexander-Arnold

Trent Alexander-Arnold Crystal Palace

Trent Alexander-Arnold

At 22 years old, Alexander-Arnold is already proving to be one of the best right-backs in the world.

He has been a constant presence in the Liverpool starting lineup since he broke into the team and has broken many records in his relatively young career.

Alexander-Arnold thrives when he supports the attack on the wings but has lately developed in a slightly narrower role this season.

AC Milan will look to expose Liverpool on the flanks, but the young Liverpudlian has shown his merit against big sides in the past and easily slots into this starting XI.

Center Back - Virgil van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk arguably would be the first-choice center back in most teams. AC Milan has many obstacles to overcome at Anfield to get a result, but the Dutchman is one of the biggest.

After almost an entire season recovering from injury, van Dijk has slotted back into the starting XI with ease.

The match vs Milan will be a good test for Liverpool’s center-back, but how he handled Romelu Lukaku should be a warning to Milan’s forwards.

Center Back - Joel Matip

Joel Matip

Joel Matip

Virgil van Dijk hasn’t been alone this season, and on his side has been the superb Joel Matip.

The Cameroonian has proved vital in Liverpool’s opening fixtures and has equally handled every task thrown at him so far.

On the weekend, Matip ventured forward and helped combine for Liverpool’s first goal vs Leeds. There are many facets to his game Milan has to worry over.

Fikayo Tomori and Simon Kjær are solid defenders, but it’s hard to look past the duo of van Dijk and Matip.

Left Back - Andrew Robertson

Andrew Robertson looks on

Andrew Robertson

Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson has been a sensation since his £7.5million transfer from Hull City.

Robertson is the complete package when it comes to left-backs. His defense is first class, and his record giving support on the wings rivals his compatriot Alexander-Arnold.

Both Davide Calabria and Theo Hernández are capable, but the Premier League and Champions League winners Robertson and Alexander-Arnold make the team ahead of the Milan players.

Midfield - Franck Kessié

Franck Kessié

Franck Kessié

The first AC Milan player to feature in this combined XI is phenomenal Franck Kessié.

Liverpool and many other top teams have been eager to lure Kessié away from Milan, which should be enough to prove the quality of this young player.

Kessié plays in the midfield and last season showed that he can consistently put the ball in the back of the net with 13 goals in his 37 Serie A matches.

The midfield will be an intense battleground on Wednesday, and Kessié will be one of the players to watch.

Midfield - Fábio Tavares (Fabinho)

Fabinho

Fabinho

An obvious choice to anchor the midfield is Fabinho.

The Brazilian midfielder is one of the best in Europe. His ability to read the game, stop attacks, and help with the forward flow is mesmerizing.

Kessié and the other Milan midfielders will have a tough task getting by Liverpool’s Brazilian rock.

Jordan Henderson

Jordan Henderson

Midfield - Jordan Henderson

Sandro Tonali is a classy player who, at 21 years old, is drawing compassions to the great Andrea Pirlo. However, it is Jordan Henderson who gets the nod.

AC Milan’s midfield is talented but young. Henderson has vast experience in the midfield and leading his team to major trophies.

Henderson will look to put immense pressure on the opposing midfield as long as he’s on the pitch.

Right Wing - Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah

Coming off scoring his 100th goal in the Premier League, Salah will look to continue his goal-scoring pursuits against Milan on Wednesday.

Along with Virgil van Dijk, Salah is a player that would easily slot into almost every team’s starting XI.

AC Milan will have their most formidable defensive challenge with the Egyptian.

Striker - Roberto Firmino

Roberto Firmino celebrates against Burnley

Roberto Firmino

AC Milan is unfortunate here. Zlatan Ibrahimović, one of the greatest strikers ever to play the game, was the nailed-on choice for this position. A late injury keeps him out.

Most people vastly underrate Olivier Giroud, but he and Ante Rebić miss out due to Roberto Firmino.

Bobby can link attacks together in ways that go beyond a typical striker’s duties. His all-around game will be a constant annoyance for Milan’s defense and midfield.

Left Wing - Sadio Mané

Sadio Mane

Sadio Mané

Sadio Mané has not been at his best over the past season, but his determination against Leeds showed his passion and ability.

Whether or not he is at his best, Mané can cause problems for any defense in the world.

AC Milan has the test of getting a result at Anfield, and Mané will be one of the many brilliant players they have to keep an eye on.

Final Analysis

Only one player from AC Milan makes it into the Combined Starting XI, but that does not mean they won’t be an early threat to Liverpool’s Champion’s League progression. 

There are many talented players on the Italian side, but Liverpool has the quality and the experience to cope with the threat.

Champions League UCL Trophy

The last time the Italian side played in the Champions League was in the 2013/2014 season. They primarily have a young squad with a few old heads mixed in. 

However, their lack of experience in European competition in recent years is what reflects in this lineup.

Regardless, it should be an intense battle at Anfield on Wednesday night.