Liverpool 4-1 Milan (3-4 pens): Player ratings as Reds secure comfortable friendly win

Salah rolls in for 1-0
Salah rolls in for 1-0 / KARIM SAHIB/GettyImages

Liverpool cruised to a 4-1 friendly victory over Serie A champions Milan on Thursday, their final friendly before next week's Carabao Cup clash with Manchester City, although subsequently lost a penalty shootout that was staged after the final whistle.

The Reds dominated throughout, pinning back Milan in the first half and cruising through the gears in the second, with Stefano Pioli's side - comprised of fringe Rossoneri players - looking well off the pace on the club's 123rd birthday.

After surviving an early Milan break where Marko Lazetic somehow fired wide when through on goal after two minutes, Liverpool drew first blood mere moments later. The Reds broke through Milan's lines with stunning ease in a matter of passes and Mohamed Salah was able to slot past Antonio Mirante, who was already on the floor by the time the Egyptian was one on one.

A much changed Milan XI were clearly struggling to find a rhythm in the opening 20 minutes. Their shape was poor and their passing even worse, with Liverpool regularly able to turn over possession.

But, a drinks break seemed to work in Milan's favour close to the half hour mark, with Liverpool caught sleeping. Shortly after play resumed, a diagonal ball went over Andy Robertson, who misjudged the header, and fell into the feet of Alexis Saelemakers who drove the ball inside towards goal and rifled it into the far corner for 1-1.

Sandro Tonali was being completely overrun in midfield, with his defenders unable to pick out high quality passes and nobody around him to help beat Liverpool's incredibly aggressive press. Right-back James Milner essentially played the first half as a winger as Jurgen Klopp's side did a tremendous job of keeping the tempo high and pinning their opponents back.

Their pressure paid dividends as Thiago deservedly restored their lead heading into the break, taking the ball down on the edge of the box unmarked and firing one beyond Mirante.

Liverpool remained in the driver's seat after the break, with Milan's best chances only ever coming on the break and the Reds doing a good job of nullifying those. Darwin Nunez tried his luck on goal moments after coming on around the hour mark, before young Stefan Bajcetic fired one over the crossbar from distance.

A rare venture forward for Milan after 69 minutes saw Yacine Adli sustain possession well on the edge of the box before slipping through substitute Mattia El Hilali, who thumped the crossbar with a curled effort that looked to have Adrian beaten.

The Rossoneri threw bodies forward in search of an equaliser, and when Liverpool won back possession on the edge of their own box, it took just one long ball through the middle to unleash Nunez who burst through and smashed in for 3-1.

Nunez poked in a second before the full-time whistle from very similar circumstances. This time Ben Doak was released down the flank, the 17-year-old then squaring for the Uruguayan to make it four.

As is tradition with the illustrious mid-season Dubai Super Cup, a penalty shootout followed the full-time whistle. Mirante stopped the first two Liverpool efforts, before spilling a woeful spot-kick from Nunez later on as Liverpool made it 3-3.

The Milan goalkeeper's blushes were spared, though, as Pierre Kalulu scored for 4-3 to secure a gargantuan shootout victory.

Liverpool player ratings (4-3-3)

Liverpool were almost always in control
Liverpool were almost always in control / Anadolu Agency/GettyImages

GK: Caoimhin Kelleher - 6/10 - Could do little to stop Saelemaekers' goal and was otherwise untroubled. Some impressive distribution.

RB: James Milner - 6/10 - Enjoyed the acres of space Milan presented him with in the first half. That was about all he had in the tank, though.

CB: Joel Matip - 7/10 - Lucky not to have obtained a nose bleed for his efforts in running beyond Milan's backline and passing to Salah to assist his opener. Uncharted territory for the big man.

CB: Joe Gomez - 5/10 - Showed his limitations in possession when trying to bring the ball out or find a forward pass.

LB: Andy Robertson - 5/10 - Can't be misjudging switches of play like he did here when the competitive football is back.

CM: Stefan Bajcetic - 6/10 - No standout moments, but a tidy display at the base of midfield.

CM: Thiago Alcantara - 8/10 - Played with his slippers on in the first half. Given far too much room around the edge of the box to make use of and enjoyed every moment of it.

CM: Harvey Elliott - 5/10 - Boarded the showboat the beginning of the second half with a rather filthy spin. It unfortunately went straight into touch.

RW: Mohamed Salah - 8/10 - Gave Tommaso Pobega the run around out wide. Had him completely flustered every time the pair faced off with one another.

CF: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - 6/10 - A rare outing for Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was very much a false nine. Dropped deep and let others bomb on ahead of him while trying to knit attacks together.

LW: Roberto Firmino - 5/10 - Will be disappointed that he didn't find a goal with Milan looking so stretched.


Adrian (59' for Kelleher) - N/A

Naby Keita (59' for Thiago) - 6/10 - Half an hour in the tank without picking up an injury. Promising.

Darwin Nunez (59' for Firmino) - 8/10 - Looked desperate to score, and his desperation paid off. Bagged a brace in an all-action cameo.

Kostas Tsimikas (59' for Robertson) - 6/10

Fabio Carvalho (59' for Oxlade-Chamberlain) - 6/10 - A smart cameo. Keen to get on the ball and poke through teasing passes.

Melkamu Frauendorf (60' for Milner) - 6/10

Nat Phillips (66' for Matip) - 6/10

Jarell Quansah (78' for Bajcetic) - N/A

Bobby Clark (79' for Elliott) - 7/10 - Came on and immediately played a sublime pass through to Nunez to register an assist, Impactful.

Ben Doak (83' for Salah) - 7/10 - Rattled the post with a low, driven shot after coming on, before assisting Nunez. Brilliant cameo for the teenager.


Jurgen Klopp - 7/10 - Rotated the side accordingly and gave minutes to fringe players who could be key when the fixture schedule becomes hectic in the next few weeks. Substitutes impressed and the win was secured. A decent outing.

Player of the Match - Thiago Alcantara (Liverpool)