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Champions League soccer: Salah, Henderson lead Liverpool over AC Milan

Champions League soccer: Salah, Henderson lead Liverpool over AC Milan
Liverpool's Jordan Henderson (R) scored the game-winner in the Reds 3-2 win over AC Milan in the group stage of the Champions League on Wednesday in Liverpool, England. Photo by Peter Powell/EPA-EFE

Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson each scored second-half goals to lead Liverpool to a comeback win in over AC Milan in the group stage of the 2021-22 UEFA Champions League soccer tournament.

The Reds trailed 2-1 at halftime before they rallied for the 3-2 victory Wednesday at Anfield in Liverpool, England.

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"It was a brilliant game, very exciting and very entertaining, with 10 or 15 minutes where we lost a little bit of the plot," Reds manager Jurgen Klopp told reporters.

"We were not compact enough, we got carried away with our own football, pretty much, and made it complicated. ... The game could have been decided, but it wasn't [Wednesday] because we adjusted at halftime. We played really good football again and scored two wonderful goals, so we won."

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The Premier League power took a 1-0 lead on an own goal from Milan defender Fikayo Tomori in the ninth minute. Milan goalie Mike Maignan saved a Salah penalty kick in the 14th minute.

The Italian Serie A squad equalized on an Ante Rebic score in the 42nd minute. Left wing Rafael Leao spotted Rebic as he made a run through the left side of the box during that sequence. Rebic received a pass and used his first touch to curl a shot past Liverpool goalie Alisson.

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Milan center midfielder Brahim Diaz put his team ahead just before halftime. Rebic slid a pass to left back Theo Hernandez during that play. Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold blocked an initial shot by Hernandez, but the defelected attempt sat in front of the goal line.

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Diaz slid in and finished a follow-up shot from point-blank range in the 44th minute.

Liverpool equalized three minutes into the second half. Salah passed to striker Divock Origi at the top of the box to start a give-and-go passing sequence. Salah used his final touch on the return to smack a shot into the left side of the net to tie the score.

Henderson put the Reds ahead for good in the 69th minute. Alexander-Arnold took a corner kick from the right side to start that play. Milan defender Ismael Bennacer headed the inswinger out of the box, but the clearance went right to Henderson.

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The Liverpool midfielder used his first touch to rip a shot past Maignan.

"It's been a while, so it's always nice to score a goal and if I'm going to be playing a little bit further forward in that position I think I need to be chipping in with a few more goals," Henderson said.

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"It was nice to get on the scoresheet and find the winner."

The Reds were the only Group B team to win in the first round of group stage games. Atletico Madrid tied Porto 0-0 in the other Group B game Wednesday in Madrid, Spain.

The Reds host Crystal Palace in a Premier League match at 10 a.m. EDT Saturday at Anfield. They face Porto in their next Champions League game at 3 p.m. EDT Sept. 28 in Porto, Portugal.

Milan battles Juventus in Serie A at 2:45 p.m. EDT Sunday in Turin, Italy. They face Atletico in the Champions League at 3 p.m. EDT Sept. 28 in Milan.

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