Tuesday Champions League Odds, Picks, Preview: Defenses Should Shine in AC Milan vs. Liverpool Showdown

Tuesday Champions League Odds, Picks, Preview: Defenses Should Shine in AC Milan vs. Liverpool Showdown article feature image

Marco Luzzani/Getty Images. Pictured: Franck Kessie

  • European heavyweights AC Milan and Liverpool square off in Tuesday's Champions League action.
  • The Red have already booked their place in the knockout round of the competition, but their hosts need a victory to have a shot at moving on.
  • Anthony Dabbundo breaks down the contest below and explains why he's expecting a defensive struggle.

AC Milan vs. Liverpool Odds

AC Milan Odds+105
Liverpool Odds+250
Over/Under2.5 (+105 / -125)
Day | TimeTuesday | 3 p.m. ET
How To WatchParamount+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp was very honest with the media when he was asked about his plans to rotate his lineup ahead Tuesday's final Champions League group-stage match against host AC Milan.

"We have to rotate, we will rotate. We have to rotate, that is the headline," Klopp said.

That's reflected in the price now on this game, where Milan is a home favorite and nearly even money. The quote suggests Klopp will be making far more changes for this match than he did for the home match against Porto two weeks ago, in which both Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah both started.

Liverpool has already clinched the top spot in Group B, and Milan needs all three points and some potential help if it wants to advance to the knockout stage. Given that Milan lost each of its first three matches in the group stage, the Rossoneri are quite fortunate to still be alive entering the final match day.

Milan needs a victory over Liverpool, plus either a draw in the other match, Atlético Madrid vs. Porto, or an Atlético win by fewer goals than Milan wins its match on Tuesday.

The Rossoneri caught a break in the scheduling getting Liverpool last and while Klopp hasn't been a big fan of rotating in the past, we could see an entirely new XI out there for the Reds.

AC Milan Lucky to Still Have Shot

Milan is quite fortunate to be in this position after it should have lost its game at home against Porto in the fourth matchweek. They needed a fortunate own goal and poor finishing from Porto that day to remain in the competition. The Rossoneri scored a late goal to take all three points in a deserved win at Atlético Madrid though and now have a legitimate chance to go through on the final day.

Milan isn't without injuries: Simon Kjaer, Davide Calabria, Ante Rebic, Samu Castillejo, Olivier Giroud, Alessandro Plizzari, and Pietro Pellegri are all out injured and four of them are regular starters in the XI.

Milan has some depth in attack to overcome these injuries and could benefit from playing a team like Liverpool who will afford more space to run into, as opposed to sitting deep. But the Rossoneri aren't nearly as good in attack as their numbers suggest, either.

Milan is a prime attacking regression candidate, both in Serie A and in the Champions League. In Serie A, Milan has 35 goals from 27 expected, an unsustainably good rate that will not continue in the long term. In the CL, Milan has scored five goals from 3.7 xG, in part because of an own goal that has inflated their numbers and scoring the only two chances they created against Liverpool.

Even against a backup Liverpool defense, the total is a bit inflated here and that's because the Milan attack has been overpriced for much of the season and hasn't regressed to this point.

Can Liverpool 'B' Squad Get Job Done?

As good as Liverpool's been both domestically and in Europe this season, none of that really matters on Tuesday if Salah, Diogo Jota and Mané don't play. That front three has absolutely wrecked opposing defenses across Europe, but Liverpool's press-and-possess style will look significantly less daunting with Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino as the primary shot-getters.

Those two are solid PL rotation players but neither are going to produce the same number of chances as the main trio.

Add in that Liverpool won't be playing it's typical top ball-winning and possession midfield of Fabinho, Thiago and Jordan Henderson is the result is far less game control than the Reds are typically used to. This was notable when Liverpool lost the xG battle and conceded 1.2 xGA to Porto at home.

Even if the Reds rotate the defense, pressing less and playing the backups will generally slow the pace of the game considerably and that makes it difficult to see how this is the same high-energy, free-flowing game as the last time these two teams met at Anfield in September.

Betting Analysis & Picks

The weakened team for Liverpool and clear motivational edge for Milan both exist, but appear correctly priced into the betting market for this match. One thing that isn't priced in correctly is the Milan shooting regression that has vaulted them to the top of the Serie A table and kept them in this CL group stage despite otherwise unimpressive numbers.

I expect the Milan defense to have no issues corralling the Reds backup attack. Lacking attacking depth has been an issue for Liverpool in the past and appears to still be an issue, even if Origi scored the winning goal on Saturday against Wolves. Potentially without Salah, Mané and Jota, this attack doesn't have enough to truly produce enough chances to score multiple times without flukes.

With Liverpool rotating out most of its top attackers and Milan's regression in attack coming, I'd play under 3 at -130 or better.

Pick: Total Under 3 Goals (-130 or better)

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