Liverpool top AC Milan, advance to International Champions Cup final
Liverpool beat AC Milan 2-0 on the final day of group play in the International Champions Cup in Charlotte, North Carolina on Saturday night. The Reds had already clinched Group B and a place in Monday night's final in Miami against Manchester United (live, FOX Sports 1, 7.30 p.m. ET), courtesy of the tie and penalty shootout between Olympiakos and Manchester City earlier in the day. Joe Allen and Suso scored the goals.
The contest, while energetic and entertaining, was light on real goal scoring chances. Liverpool converted one early though. In the 17th minute, Milan's Michael Essien took a heavy touch on the ball deep in his own half. Allen bodied him off the ball and scampered away with it. He slid his finish onto the far post, however. Raheem Sterling took the rebound but saw his effort saved by Christian Abbiati. It rolled free to Allen again though, who volleyed the ball home this time around.
Liverpool had a golden opportunity to double the score in the 28th minute, when Rickie Lambert got to take the soft penalty earned by Sterling when Adil Rami made very light contact with him in the box and he took a delayed tumble. But Lambert failed to score his first goal for his childhood club as his effort was meek and saved by Abbiati.
Still, Liverpool looked composed and in control for much of the game, passing and pressing well. Milan did attack in concerted flurries, like late in the first half and early in the second. But real chances were scarce for them.
They did get one in the 78th minute, when Keisuke Honda dropped a lovely ball over the top into the path of M'Baye Niang. But goalkeeper Simon Mignolet forced him wide and stretched out long on the attempted finish to quickly slap it away. On the next play, Martin Skrtel deflected a shot wide.
The Reds finally put the game away in the 90th minute, when Suso, served by Philippe Coutinho, hit his shot through all the traffic in the box and into the far and low corner of the goal. Milan's Bryan Cristante almost caught out Mignolet in extra time, but the Belgian goalie tapped his effort over the bar. From there on, Liverpool could begin preparing to face United in the championship game two days hence.