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The 39-year-old marked his first appearance of 2021-22 with a goal as the Serie A outfit defeated Lazio 2-0 on Sunday, but afterwards felt an injury that has ruled him out of Wednesday night’s Group B opener at Anfield.
“Zlatan would have liked to join the match, of course. After the match [versus Lazio] he had some inflammation,” explained Milan coach Stefano Pioli on Tuesday.
“We hoped he could in any case play but he still had pain, so we don’t want to risk [him] tomorrow. It’s a very important match but we have so many matches.
“But we are very well prepared, we have [Ante] Rebic and Olivier [Giroud] – we will decide who will start and who will then join afterwards. Of course we’re very sorry for Zlatan because he always wants to play. He’ll be back soon.”
Rebic got the nod to lead the line for I Rossoneri at the weekend but now faces competition for a place in the starting XI from Giroud, who is available again after recently testing positive for COVID-19.
“He doesn’t have 90 minutes in his legs, of course but, in any case, Olivier is available,” said Pioli. “And Ante had a very good performance last Sunday, great quality.
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“So, I’m very sure whoever starts from the beginning, and joins the match afterwards, will be both very good and they will complement very well with the rest of the team.”
Tiemoue Bakayoko is also absent from the visitors’ 21-man squad, having been forced to go off 13 minutes after entering the action as a substitute against Lazio.