Monday, April 21, 2014

AC Milan-Livorno Preview: Resurgent Rossoneri seek fifth successive Serie A win

Milan players celebrate Riccardo Montolivo's goal

AC Milan go in search of a fifth successive Serie A success for the first time since 2011 when they host relegation-threatened Livorno.

The San Siro outfit have finally hit form ahead of Saturday's clash and, despite a tumultuous season to date, can still secure European football for next season after four successive league triumphs.

Successes over Fiorentina, Chievo, Genoa and Catania have taken Milan, who sit eighth, to within five points of the fifth-placed Inter, who occupy the last guaranteed Europa League spot.

Sixth place could still provide a berth in the competition with Coppa Italia finalists Napoli and Fiorentina likely to qualify for Europe through their league position.

Milan beat Catania 1-0 thanks to a long-range goal from captain Riccardo Montolivo last weekend and will be buoyant as another side mired in the bottom three, Livorno, visit Milan.

Defender Daniele Bonera told the club's official website ahead of the game: "As a team we're succeeding in a run of games that makes us all focus very hard.

"We have to look to win all matches from here to the derby (against Inter on May 4) but if we don't beat Livorno all of this could count for nothing.

"We're defending well and we know that sooner or later we're going to score."

Milan who announced a "consolidated loss of 15.7 million" during the week - have conceded just one goal in their winning streak, which has seen six different players score.

That will please coach Clarence Seedorf, with Milan's avenues to goal rather limited this season just two players, Mario Balotelli and Kaka, have netted more than four times in the league.

Stephan El Shaarawy's comeback from a foot injury continues, with the forward fit enough to feature in Italy's 42-man training camp in Coverciano ahead of the World Cup.

Team-mates Montolivo, Balotelli, Ignazio Abate, Mattia De Sciglio and Andrea Poli were also involved.

El Shaarawy could feature off the bench for his first Milan appearance since December, while De Sciglio may shrug off an ankle complaint to feature.

The involvement of Keisuke Honda (ankle) and Michael Essien (thigh) is unlikely, while Sulley Muntari (calf) is set to return to training this week.

Livorno lie 18th in the table after a five-match winless run and could be set for an immediate return to Serie B.

That is partly down to their woeful defence, with no side in the Serie A having conceded as many as their 64 goals.

They have not kept a clean sheet since November, a run that stretches 22 games, and Milan will be confident of extending that record.

AC Milan-Livorno Preview: Resurgent Rossoneri seek fifth successive Serie A win Rating: 4.5 Posted by: Unknown

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