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Livorno-Milan: Homecoming


I have a little secret: I know why Allegri has lasted this long, against all odds. There was a clause in his contract that said he must remain as coach of Milan until they could face his hometown club, Livorno. (Okay, I may have made that up.) Don’t look for him to be sacked right away, though, because there is always the return leg in the spring. Whatever the reason he is actually still at the club, tomorrow he comes home for the first time in league competition at Milan. So hopefully, this will be a game he is invested in making a good showing.

Livorno's Milan Fan Club welcomed Allegri this summer, so he'd better not disappoint them
Livorno currently sit 18th in the table with 12 points. Their record is 3 wins, 3 draws, and 8 losses, with the most recent loss a 3-0 one to Chievo last week. So once again, Milan face a relegation zone team, but this time coming off of an away win vs. Catania. Livorno, meanwhile, are coming off of 3 straight losses, with their last win at home vs. Atalanta. Which means, despite their home advantage, on paper, Milan are favored to win this one.

But don’t count out the gritty little team from Tuscany. There may be more than meets the eye, and I’m sure that they would like to give their hometown hero a welcome that he won’t forget. But first they will have to forget last week’s loss away to Chievo. For that match, Davide Nicola lined up Bardi; Ceccherini, Valentini, Rinaudo; Gemiti. Greco, Emerson, Biagianti, Schiatterella; Paulinho, and Siligardi. Nicola will be hoping that he has a full strength squad if he wants to spoil Allegri’s homecoming.

Allegri wants a win? Paulinho may have something to say about that.

Milan, on the other hand, have had several players return to training this week, including De Sciglio, Mexes, and Abbiati, even if it remains to be seen whether or not they will be fit for the trip to Livorno. Of course, we’re still likely to be missing Muntari, Zaccardo, Abate, Silvestre, Amelia, Robinho, and Pazzini, so Allegri will certainly not have a full strength squad.

However, I suspect he will continue with the 4-3-2-1 formation that has given Milan back to back away wins in the Champions League and Serie A. Hopefully three away games in a row will follow the ‘third time is a charm’ rule. And with any luck, we’ll see Balotelli up front with the enticing El Shaarawy-Kaka pairing behind him.

They're coming for you, Livorno

But who knows? Allegri is a man of surprises. Hopefully, regardless of formation or lineups, he’ll surprise us with another result, and if it’s not too much, a performance that is Milan-worthy. But in a pinch, I’ll take the result. Because in the end, Milan need the points more than I need to be entertained. And what better way for Allegri to celebrate his homecoming?


This post inspired by the music of Diana Krall's "I'll Be Home For Christmas"


Livorno vs. Milan
Saturday, December 7 • 18:00 CET (12noon EST)
This match will be shown LIVE on BeIN Sport and RAI in the US
Check here for stream links ahead of the match