Zlatan Ibrahimovic was barred from AC Milan’s Champions League match against Liverpool after suffering a setback due to injury.
The 39-year-old former Manchester United striker returned Sunday for AC Milan from the bench against Lazio, scoring his second goal in a 2-0 Serie A victory.
This followed a four-month layoff for knee injury, and the Swedish frontman has now reported suffering from a discomfort in an Achilles tendon, forcing him to give up plans for Wednesday’s Anfield fight.
This means that coach Stefano Pioli will call on Ante Rebic or former Arsenal and Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud as the spearhead of the attack when he picks his team to face Jurgen Klopp’s Reds.
Pioli stated that Giroud would not be able to play for a full 90 minutes, having returned from a pitchside spell after testing positive for COVID-19.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Pioli said: “Zlatan had an inflammation; he tried this morning but it is useless to take risks at this point of the season.
“I see Milan with Zlatan and I absolutely think we will get him back soon. Absences are part of football; I’ll have to choose between Ante and Olivier but we have the cover “.
The rose of ours @Champions League debut
– Milan (@acmilan) September 14, 2021
Ibrahimovic has a rich experience in the Champions League, scoring 48 goals in the competition in 120 games, including nine for Milan between 2010 and 2012 in a previous AC Milan interlude.
The Swede has scored for more teams in the Champions League than any other player (six: Paris Saint-Germain, Milan, Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona).
He arrived from LA Galaxy in the middle of the 2019-20 season and helped Pioli take AC Milan to the Champions League for the first time in eight years with last season’s second place in Serie A.
Last time in the competition was the 2013-14 season, a worrying drought for the club that has won the European Cup or Champions League on seven occasions.
“Our growth over the last year is clear for everyone to see,” said Pioli. “Our experiences have helped us grow and improve, and the start of this season has shown that this team knows how to play and how to approach matches.
“The level is higher now; that’s what we wanted and it’s an opportunity for us to show that we can mix it with the best ”.
Milan have only won one of their last 13 games against English opponents in European competition (D4 L8), with that lone win, 4-0 over Arsenal at San Siro in the Champions League in February 2012.
Pioli, quoted by the Milan official website, said: “Many of us have never played in the Champions League, but football is football. We know what to do and how to try to play against a really strong team.
“We have prepared very well for this match. There are no easy games in this group; our opponents are all very competitive and have been playing European football for some time. It is an opportunity for us to start writing our history; we strongly believe in our quality “.