Liverpool end their International Champions Cup group stage fixtures with a 2-0 win over AC Milan in Charlotte…
Liverpool will face Manchester United in Miami on Monday night in the final of the International Champions Cup.
A second consecutive penalty shootout defeat for United’s neighbours City meant the outcome of Liverpool’s final group stage game with AC Milan overnight became immaterial.
Perhaps as a consequence, both sides began in a slightly conservative fashion with a number of hopeful, long-balls forward proving fruitless.
18-year-old Reds winger Jordan Ibe showed some neat touches but opportunities remained absent until an opener arrived out of nowhere just before the 20 minute mark.
Joe Allen robbed a dallying Michael Essien of possession before scoring at the second attempt after the post had denied him initially and then Raheem Sterling had seen his own follow-up blocked.
Liverpool quickly began to dominate proceedings and should have added a second 10 minutes later when Adil Rami felled Sterling in the box but penalty king Rickie Lambert saw his spot kick saved by Christian Abbiati.
M’Baye Niang finally tested Simon Mignolet with an angled drive in the 39th minute but in truth the Italian outfit had been lacklustre and largely devoid of any real ambition.
A poor touch from Jack Robinson did momentarily set Stephan El Shaarawy away on the stroke of half-time but Allen tracked back brilliantly to cut out the danger.
Suso and Conor Coady replaced Sterling and Henderson at the break while the enigmatic Mario Balotelli was amongst Milan’s substitutes.
The former Manchester City forward’s presence initially coincided with an improvement from the Rossoneri but good goal scoring chances continued not to be forthcoming for Filippo Inzaghi’s men.
With just two days until the final, further changes from Kop boss Brendan Rodgers were inevitable and eight took place in one go on the hour mark.
With Steven Gerrard, Philippe Coutinho, Martin Skrtel and new signing Emre Can amongst them, Liverpool suddenly had a stronger and much more familiar look.
A nasty collision between replacement keeper Gabriel and full-back Mattia De Sciglio brought about a lengthy delay in the game before Gerrard fired wide from distance.
Milan finally had a great chance to open their account in the 78th minute when a delightful ball from Keisuke Honda set Niang away but Mignolet spread himself well to deny the Frenchman.
That opportunity aside, the result had seemed safe for some time as a largely uneventful encounter drifted towards it’s climax with action at a premium.
Any lingering doubt was removed in the 90th minute when Suso combined well with Coutinho before side-footing home from the edge of the area.
Bryan Cristante did force a flying stop out of Mignolet in stoppage time but Milan ended a miserable tournament with defeats in all three of their outings.
Mignolet, Kelly (Johnson 60), Toure (Sakho 60), Coates (Skrtel 60), Robinson (Enrique 60), Lucas (Can 60), Henderson (Coady 46), Allen (Gerrard 60), Lambert (Peterson 60), Ibe (Coutinho 60), Sterling (Suso 46).
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