AC Milan defender Simon Kjaer warns Liverpool the Italian giants are determined ‘to prove they are not on holiday’ ahead of their first Champions League match in SEVEN YEARS
- AC Milan face Liverpool in their first Champions League game on Wednesday
- Remarkably, the clash is the first time Anfield has played host to the Rossoneri
- Liverpool face one of the toughest groups with Milan, Porto and Atletico Madrid
- Jurgen Klopp admitted it is the strongest group he’s faced as the Reds’ manager
AC Milan centre back Simon Kjaer has warned Liverpool that the Rossoneri are out to prove themselves in their Champions League clash on Wednesday.
Milan will make their first foray into the Champions League in seven years as Anfield plays host to the side’s opening group stage game, while Liverpool begin their quest for their seventh title.
The Reds face a tricky start to their European journey this season, with manager Jurgen Klopp even admitting they have been drawn one of the toughest groups with Atletico Madrid, who Liverpool crashed out against in the last 16 last season, Porto and Milan.
Simon Kjaer warned Liverpool that AC Milan are out to prove themselves ahead of their clash
Stefano Pioli’s side were the one team everyone was trying to avoid in pot four, where the lowest-ranked teams in the competition were being drawn out.
The Rossoneri missed out to rivals Inter in the Serie A title race having led the way for most of the season, but have addressed the spine of the team over the summer with the likes of Olivier Giroud, Fikayo Tomori and goalkeeper Mike Maignan.
And, ahead of their trip to Merseyside, Kjaer claimed that Milan were prepared to provide a challenge for Klopp’s side upon their return to the Champions League after growing ‘physically and mentally’.
Milan strengthened their squad with new arrivals Olivier Giroud (left) and Fikayo Tomori (right)
‘We need the same mentality, Liverpool are very strong, but in my opinion we have grown both physically and mentally compared to the last game in Europe,’ Kjaer said.
‘Tomorrow, it will be difficult, but I know the coach and he wants us to go there and play for Milan. We are there to prove that we are not on holiday.’
‘We have prepared well,’ he added. ‘We are at a good point in our path, we have grown a lot and now we must demonstrate.
‘Matches like this are the ones we play football for. Not many believe that we can go there and play for it, but that’s our mentality.
Milan begin their Champions League campaign away to Liverpool on Wednesday night
‘With the utmost respect, but we will play, as against any team.’
The Denmark captain arrived at Milan in January 2020 on a loan deal from Sevilla before signing permanently last September and believes he has improved alongside the team.
‘I also think I’m playing my best football, but I only play well if the team does well,’ he said.
Remarkably, given the pedigree of the two clubs, this is the first time Liverpool have ever hosted Milan, their only previous meetings coming in the finals of 2005 – the story of which has been told many times over – and 2007.
The last time they played each other was in a pre-season friendly in 2016, in what Klopp’s first summer in charge. Liverpool made short work of Milan that night in California, winning 2-0 at the home of the San Francisco 49ers, but there won’t be any such formality now.
Liverpool have had historic battles with Milan in the past including the 2005 and 2007 Champions League finals
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