Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss AC Milan’s return to Champions League football with an Achilles tendon injury which will keep him out of their trip to Liverpool, coach Stefano Pioli said on Tuesday.
Milan last appeared in Europe’s top club competition in the 2014 edition’s last 16 and were hoping that veteran forward Ibrahimovic would make Wednesday’s clash at Anfield after scoring on his return from a four-month layoff against Lazio on Sunday.
“He left the field with an inflammation of the tendon. We hoped he would be able to recover but it’s not the case,” Pioli told reporters at Tuesday’s pre-match press conference.
Ibrahimovic, who will turn 40 early next month, scored seven minutes after coming off the bench at the San Siro, raising Pioli’s hopes his talismanic attacker would start in England after shaking off a knee injury he picked up in May.
Pioli is likely to pick Ante Rebic, who laid on Ibrahimovic’s goal on Sunday, as another experienced forward Olivier Giroud has only just returned to training after contracting Covid-19 earlier this month.
“Two days of training are not enough to play 90 minutes, but he (Giroud) could play a part of the game,” Pioli said.
“Ibra was going to start, now the question is who will play between Rebic and Giroud.”
Milan are in good form heading to Anfield, with three wins from their opening three Serie A fixtures putting them level with Napoli and league leaders Roma.
Seven-time European champions Milan have not got past the quarter-finals in the competition since last winning it in 2007, when they beat Liverpool.
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.