Liverpool should worry about familiar AC Milan threat despite Zlatan Ibrahimovic absence

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss the Champions League group stage opener due to an achilles injury but Jurgen Klopp will have to ensure Liverpool are aware of another threat AC Milan boast – and one with whom the Reds are extremely familiar

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  • 05:00, 15 Sep 2021
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Liverpool kick-off their Champions League group stage campaign on Wednesday as AC Milan travel to Anfield,

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The Rossoneri end their eight-year absence from Europe's elite club competition, but head to Merseyside to face the in-form Reds without talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Jurgen Klopp has seen his side pick up 10 points from their first four Premier League matches, getting back to winning ways on Sunday with a 3-0 victory over Leeds.

Now heading into continental football, Liverpool will be hoping to add to the list of famous Anfield nights, boosted by Ibrahimovic being ruled out due to an achilles injury.

Klopp's concerns should not stop at Ibrahimovic's absence

The seven-time European champions may be without their talisman but could well prove a threat thanks to another experienced marksman with whom Liverpool are more than familiar.

Ibrahimovic's likely replacement, unless Ante Rebic takes up the central spot, will be former Chelsea and Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud.

Liverpool know all about the dangers of the Frenchman, who has scored a goal every other game against the Reds across 16 appearances during his career.

Now 34, the ex-Gunners and Blues hitman can still produce and has two strikes from two Serie A outings already this term.

Giroud has scored eight goals in 16 games against Liverpool
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SIPA USA/PA Images)

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Giroud cost just £2million after Chelsea exercised a one-year extension in his contract in order to receive a fee for him if he left during the summer transfer window.

Stefano Pioli and co did just that and have won all three of their league games this campaign. The sit second in the Serie A table below Jose Mourinho's Roma on goal difference, having conceded just one goal.

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Klopp was aware of the threat the "exceptional" Ibrahimovic carries but also commented on Group B's quality during his pre-match press conference.

"It is a difficult group. I don't think when we saw it one us said it was a great group," he outlined. "It's tough, come on. Atletico, Porto, usually champions in Portugal. Milan, big history in best moment for years.

"Proper Champions League. We worked hard for this."

The German noted: "This is the strongest group we've had since I've been at Liverpool. It will keep two really good football teams away from the knockout stages.

"This group will be exciting from the first second to the last second. It's exactly what we want."

On Milan themselves and the reunion between the clubs after they met twice in Champions League finals during the 2000s, Klopp added: "I have more in mind than the two finals but if you think of any European battle, LFC v AC Milan is a must-watch.

"Milan not been in CL for years but are doing well for 18 months. Started this season good so it'll be tough. There are a few nice games in this CL, this is one."

Zlatan may be missing, but Liverpool's defence will need to be on their guard with Giroud hoping to make a splash back on English soil.

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