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Salah scores 20th goal as Liverpool earn historic win and dump AC Milan out of Champions League

The Reds became the first-ever English side to win all six of their group games.

Image: Alamy Stock Photo

LIVERPOOL MADE it a perfect six Champions League wins from six on Tuesday with a 2-1 victory at AC Milan which knocked one of Europe’s most storied clubs out of the Champions League.

Fikayo Tomori had given Milan hope they could make the last 16 with his tap-in just before the half hour mark at the San Siro but a quick reply from Mohamed Salah and Divock Origi’s nodded finish 10 minutes after the break ensured Jurgen Klopp’s side finished Group B on 18 points.

Serie A leaders Milan, who were missing half their starting back four and three other first team players including forwards Rafael Leao and Ante Rebic, failed in ther attempt to make the last 16 for the first time since 2013.

Stefano Pioli’s side have looked an accomplished side domestically this season but were punished for picking up just one point from their first four group matches.

Klopp made a raft of changes from the Reds’ side which squeezed past Wolves at the weekend but there was still a obvious gulf in class between the two teams.

Milan struggled to put a second-string Reds outfit under much pressure in the tame opening stages.

The closest either side came to scoring was a Tomori header in the eighth minute that Alisson Becker had no trouble saving, while Neco Williams’ shot two minutes earlier dribbled into Mike Maignan’s arms.

Out of nowhere the San Siro exploded into life thanks to Tomori’s 29th-minute opener, which fell to him on a plate after Alisson could only pat the ball out to the England international.

However their joy only lasted six minutes as Salah netted his 20th goal of the season, pouncing after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain did brilliantly to wriggle free and fire a stinging shot at Maignan.

And Milan’s hopes of making it through all but vanished 10 minutes after the break as Origi looped home Liverpool’s second on another rebound, this time from Sadio Mane’s shot after Tomori gifted the Senegal forward possession on the edge of his own box.

From there Liverpool easily held off the home side, with Alisson rushing out to block Franck Kessie’s finish when put clean through the only real danger Milan managed to pose with five minutes remaining.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid grabbed a place in the last 16 of the Champions League as Antoine Griezmann scored one goal and had a key role in the two others as the Spanish side beat Porto 3-1.

The win in northern Porto coupled with AC Milan’s 2-1 defeat to a second-string Liverpool side at the San Siro was enough to send Diego Simeone’s side through as the second-placed team in Group B despite starting the day bottom.

Yannick Carrasco complicated Atletico’s task by getting sent off with 20 minutes to go for grappling Otavio to the ground in a touchline melee.

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Three minutes later, the numbers were evened up as Porto had Wendell red-carded after French referee Clement Turpin adjudged he had struck an Atletico player.

Porto had two golden chances to score, but Mehdi Taremi wasted both. First he was denied by a brilliant one-handed save by Jan Oblak in the first half and then he side-footed over the bar in the second from a good position.

After a largely sterile first half, all the goals came in a frenetic second period.

Against the run of play, Atletico went ahead on 56 minutes when Griezmann was left unmarked by Otavio and nonchalantly tapped in at the back post from an in-swinging corner.

Ater the bad-tempered period that produced two red cards, Griezmann created the second goal by drawing two Porto defenders on the touchline before brilliantly slipping the ball to the charging Angel Correa who kept his head to slide a shot past ’keeper Diogo Costa.

Griezmann was involved again as Porto, with players committed in attack, were caught out and the French striker scuffed his shot but Rodrigo De Paul made no mistake two minutes into stoppage time.

Sergio Oliveira scored from the penalty spot for Porto in the sixth minute of injury time but the long faces on the Portuguese side’s bench told the story of the match.

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AFP

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