Champions league final preview: AC Milan vs Liverpool

Key: Can Milan play 90+ minutes without flagging because the CL final’s is their’s to lose.
If you were a soccer purist, there is only one team you would support, and that would be AC Milan. They are sublime because their players are far better than that of Liverpool. But if skill was the only criteria then Arsenal would be walking away with every Premiership. There is a little thing called heart. Which is what Liverpool has in plenty. This is the quandary that Milan faces, can they play 90+ minutes of soccer without fading or letting up? Because the lesson of 2005, is that there is no slacking off, as Liverpool will punish you. If it comes to a penalty shootout Liverpool would be odds on favourite to win. Thus, it is imperative for Milan to win in regulation time. Because the game swings Liverpool’s way the longer it drags on.
The key is to stop the roving Steven Gerrard. And the achilles heel of Milan is the erratic Doni. Brilliant but extremely fallible. Look for Gerrard to test Doni with some well timed zingers. Milan is not as physical as Liverpool so look for some real physical jousting when Liverpool takes its set pieces, corners, or crosses from the flanks. This is when Liverpool will be at its best. Dida has to be careful not to have any of those mental lapses that have cost Milan matches in the past. Liverpool will win the 50/50 always. So Milan’s main aim would be that it does not get punished for these lapses that will surely occur. Look for Gattuso who did an admirable job on Ronaldo in the CL semi-finals to police Gerrard and shut him down. In that case, look for long balls to Kuyt and Crouch/ Bellamy up front in the event that their speed and aerial ability can break down the Milan cordon.
On the other hand I would take Milan’s midfield of Kaka, Seedorf, Ambrosini, and Pirlo anyday over Alonso, Gerrard, Zenden, and Mascherano, on the open field. The story of Milan’s win will be their superior midfield. Liverpool’s defense is tough to crack with Jamie Carragher and Daniel Agger and only a midfield like that of Milan can find holes.
Pirlo is due for a big game and he will shine. He is a big game player and through set pieces and/or well timed passes, Pirlo will test Liverpool as all the attention is drawn towards Kaka as Liverpool does its best to crowd him out.

Prediction: AC Milan 3 Liverpool 1
. This time around Milan will make sure that the match does not slip away from them even as they prove once again that they are a far better team.

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