Tuesday, 14 September 2021 19:12

Staff Reporter.

AC Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss Wednesday's opening Champions League group match at Liverpool with an Achilles tendon problem.

Ibrahimovic, who turns 40 in October, made a goalscoring return from injury in Sunday's Serie A win over Lazio.

"After the match he had some inflammation," said the Italian team's coach Stefano Pioli.

"We hoped he could play but he still had pain so we don't want to risk [playing him]."

Milan have not got past the quarter-finals in the competition since last winning it in 2007, when they beat Liverpool.

Prior to the news that the Sweden forward would not be travelling to Merseyside, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had praised his enduring quality.

"Zlatan. What a player," Klopp said. "I saw videos of him when he got injured a few months ago and saw him on the spinning bike and fighting back saying 'Lions don't rest long' or whatever [he said].

"He's a man for exceptional moments. If he's not playing, Olivier Giroud will play or [Ante] Rebic will play. All really good players.

"Zlatan is one of the best players this game has ever seen. He knows that and he says that to everybody and I like that about him.

"Some careers end even when there is still a bit of fuel in the tank but he squeezes every drop out of his body. He is capable of playing in each league in the world and that is exceptional."

Seven-time European champions Milan are making their first appearance in the Champions League since 2014 and head to Anfield with a 100% record in the Italian top flight after winning their first three fixtures this season.

The Reds also inflicted one of the most traumatic defeats in Milan's history, coming back from three goals down at half-time of the 2005 final against a star-studded Rossoneri line-up before eventually winning on penalties.