AC Milan vs. Livorno: 5 Things We Learned
Milan have now won five consecutive matches in Serie A with four clean sheets.
It's been a remarkable turnaround for the Rossoneri after enduring one of their worst seasons since the early 1980s when they were relegated to Serie B.
A 3-0 win over Livorno on Saturday put a stamp on Milan's Europa League hopes as they're now tied with Parma for that sixth-place spot in the standings, which would get a berth to the qualifying rounds of Europa.
Here are five things we learned from this pivotal Italian fixture.
Taarabt Continues Brilliance
Adel Taarabt has been a scintillating addition since joining Milan over from Fulham in the January transfer window.
Even though not many expected much from the brooding playmaker, he has proved all of his critics wrong with hard work and fantastic solo efforts.
His goal against Livorno made the score 2-0. It was up to him to recreate another moment of individual brilliance, as he dribbled past defenders and slotted the strike into the bottom corner of the net.
Balotelli Shows Creative Side as Well as Scoring Touch
Mario Balotelli scored and assisted twice in the match against Livorno and was a catalyst of another positive result for his Rossoneri side.
The fact is that Super Mario seems to be a lot more dynamic when he's not leading the line but rather playing off a pillar like Giampaolo Pazzini up front.
Balotelli's creativity is one of his most underrated assets, and it was apparent once again.
Livorno Need a Miracle to Stay Up
With another loss, Livorno are now in 19th place in Serie A, three points behind two other teams that are fighting to stay up.
The Tuscan side was just promoted last year from the second division but hasn't adjusted to the rigors of playing in the top flight, as they've been woeful for most of the season.
Even though they're not mathematically out of the race, it'll take a few wins—a task that has been hard for Livorno—to have a fighting chance of staying up.
Pazzini Finally Able to Become a Factor on the Scoresheet
Giampaolo Pazzini let out a visible sigh of relief after scoring only his second goal in Serie A this season after netting 15 last year with the Rossoneri.
He has endured an injury-ravaged campaign and has barely been able to start from the first minute.
However, a lovely Balotelli assist set up "Il Pazzo" perfectly in space, where he was able to slightly dink the ball over the goalkeeper.
Milan Now Europa League Contenders
Milan fans finally have a reason to smile, as the team is on a path right into Europe.
With five consecutive victories, they're now tied with Parma on the table. They have a few important matches against Roma and Inter coming up that could slingshot the Rossoneri all the way to fifth place.
The team is starting to come together under Clarence Seedorf and has been understanding his tactical ideologies to a greater extent.