Soccer

Liverpool blanks Milan in North Carolina to reach IC Cup final

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The Canadian Press
8/2/2014 9:41:26 PM
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The International Champions Cup final won't feel like a friendly game to Liverpool coach Brendan Rodgers.

That's no surprise, considering that Liverpool will face English Premier League rival Manchester United in Miami on Monday night.

Liverpool beat AC Milan 2-0 on Saturday night to reach the final in the eight-team tournament.

Joe Allen and Suso scored to help Liverpool finish 3-0 in group play. Manchester United topped Real Madrid 3-1 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to win its group at 3-0.

"I don't think many of our games are (friendly)," Rodgers said. "You've seen this in other games, and Manchester has certainly been competitive. They've got top players, and to top players, every game is a competition. There's never too many friendlies. Obviously, Monday's game will be equally competitive."

Liverpool and Manchester United have a combined 121 titles in domestic and European competition, including 38 Premier League and eight European Cup titles.

"It's more than football -- it's life," Rodgers said. "It's two cities that aren't very far apart, and historically they've always been huge rivals. It's probably the biggest game in the world, and for it to be here in the United States is going to be great. They're two of the biggest clubs in Britain. They're two of the biggest clubs in the world."

However, to set up a match between the long-time rivals, Liverpool had to get past AC Milan, which finished 0-3 in group play but could have denied Liverpool a spot in the final with a win.

Allen put Liverpool ahead in the 17th minute with his first goal of the tournament, scoring off a deflected save by goalkeeper Christian Abbaiti.

Allen had a clear shot at the goal from 20 yards out, but it bounced off the left post. Raheem Sterling collared the rebound 6 yards out, only to have Abbiata make a diving save. But the deflection went right to Allen, who punched it into the right side of the goal from 8 yards.

Suso, who entered the game at the 60th minute, added an insurance goal at the 90th minute, putting his open look from just outside the penalty box into the right side of the net past goalkeeper Gabriel.

"It looked like every time they took a shot, they scored a goal," AC Milan coach Filippo Inzaghi said through a translator. "We have to be able to do better in the next games. We have another month of practice, so we should be able to get much better."

Emre Can and Keisuke Honda (Photo: Canadian Press)

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(Photo: Canadian Press)
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