The Point of Liverpool-Milan in Dubai

Milan were missing 15 players for this match, even more than for our friendly on Tuesday against Arsenal, and it showed. The final result in regulation was Liverpool 4, Milan 1. However, there was a tiny bit of Birthday redemption when Mirante became a penalty-saving machine and earned us a bonus point in the penalty shootout, which ended 4-3 for Milan. This Dubai Super Cup may have been a tournament, I'm assuming someone will get a trophy, but that was not the really the point for these teams.  It seemed like, for both sides, the point of this match was to give a lot of bench and younger players a good look and some minutes ahead of the second half of the season.

Mirante saved two penalties (and almost another) to give Milan the birthday gift of a bonus point

Pioli started with a very limited squad, with Origi, Tomori and Brahim Díaz also missing, in addition to the 12 others from Tuesday. His starting lineup was a 4-2-3-1:

Mirante; Kalulu, Thiaw, Gabbia, Pobega; Krunić, Tonali; Saelemaekers, Adli, Rebić; and Lazetić.

The young Lazetić rewarded Pioli for his selection by firing a shot just wide in the second minute from a great play by Adli. Then it was mainly Liverpool. Salah scored in the fifth minute, and it looked like it was going to be one of those days. But Mr. Champions League was back, and Saelemaekers thought it was a Champions League match, apparently. So, in the 29th, he scored a fantastic equalizer, 1-1 all.

Mr. Champions League is back.

Milan were trying to stay in the game, but a Thiago goal in the 40th made it 2-1 Liverpool. After the half, Vranckx and Bennacer came on for Tonali and Krunić, respectively. Then El Hilali replaced Captain Rebić, with the armband going to Bennacer.

The young players created a few chances, with Pobega forcing a save in the 57th from an Adli corner. And El Hilali's shot just skimmed the top of the crossbar in the 70th. With nothing to lose, Pioli brought on Bakayoko. Whatever. He replaced the scoring Saelemaekers, and Primavera players Bozzolan and Simić replaced Pobega and Gabbia. 

The captain's armband has been passed around in Calabria's absence

Having so many young players at the back with so little leadership cost us, specifically two goals by Nuñez, in the 82nd and the 88th. But Mirante actually did not do half bad for being pulled out of the mothballs and put center stage. And giving the young players some time against Liverpool's mostly young players was excellent experience for them. Milan lost to Klopp's Liverpool 4-1 in regulation.

However, there was the bizarre ritual of the penalty shootout for the bonus point. And in that, Mirante suddenly became master of saving penalties. He saved two, almost three, which meant that Milan got the bonus point by winning the shootout 4-3. Mirante's heroics put a little asterisk on Milan's mostly sad 123rd birthday, and showed Pioli his superpower.

Someone had a good penalty shootout.

But the most important point of this match was learned in the minute of silence ahead of kickoff. In that brief tribute to the great Siniša Mihajlović, who tragically passed away today after a long battle with leukemia, we learned that life is precious. Mihajlović taught us so much in his short time as manager at Milan, and even more in his 53 years on this planet. He was a warrior and a family man, someone who always spoke his mind, but always gave his heart. That someone so strong could fall means that we all need to treasure every day that we have with those we love. And also that a legend like Siniša will remain in our hearts forever

Siniša Mihajlović, 1969-2022

This post inspired by the life of Siniša Mihajlović, I hope he's raising hell in heaven.

The Point of Liverpool-Milan in Dubai The Point of Liverpool-Milan in Dubai Reviewed by Elaine on 8:31 PM Rating: 5
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