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Champions League soccer: Zlatan Ibrahimovic ruled out for AC Milan vs. Liverpool

AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic felt pain in his Achilles tendon Tuesday at a training session in Milan, Italy, and will not play in Wednesday's Champions League game against Liverpool. Photo by Roberto Bregani/EPA-EFE
AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic felt pain in his Achilles tendon Tuesday at a training session in Milan, Italy, and will not play in Wednesday's Champions League game against Liverpool. Photo by Roberto Bregani/EPA-EFE

Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not play in Wednesday's Champions League group stage match against Liverpool, AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli said Tuesday.

Pioli told reporters that Ibrahimovic felt pain in his Achilles tendon Tuesday at a training session and will miss the game as a precaution. The Italian Serie A team faces its Premier League foe at 3 p.m. EDT Wednesday at Anfield in Liverpool, England.

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"There is no point in taking a risk at such an important stage of the season," Pioli said. "It's a massive game, but we have plenty of important games coming up."

Pioli said Ibrahimovic was slated to start Wednesday, but the field at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy, might have aggravated his injury. The AC Milan manager said Olivier Giroud or Ante Rebic will start in place of the Swedish striker.

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"We are well-stocked in the forward line," Pioli said.

Ibrahimovic, 39, sustained a knee injury in May. He returned from a four-month hiatus and scored in AC Milan's 2-0 win over Lazio on Sunday in Milan.

"He left the game Sunday with a sore tendon, we hoped he could recover on the rest day but he didn't," Piloli said. "Today he tried [to train] with the team, but we decided not to risk him as a precaution."

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AC Milan will make its first appearance in the Champions League since 2014.

Ibrahimovic has scored 48 goals in 120 career appearances in the annual tournament, which features the top teams and champions in Europe. He scored 15 goals in 19 Serie A matches last season for AC Milan.

AC Milan battles Juventus in a Serie A match at 2:45 p.m. EDT Sunday in Turin, Italy. The Italian squad faces Atletico Madrid of Spain's La Liga in its second Champions League group stage match at 3 p.m. EDT Sept. 28 in Milan.

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Pioli said he thinks Ibrahimovic will return "very soon."

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