The 39-year-old was a part of the squad which defeated Liverpool 2-1 in the 2007 final and the two clubs will play each other their opening Group B encounter on Wednesday evening.
“That was a consolidated group of champions, in which the best young players in circulation entered from year to year, no risky bet,” Gilardino told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
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“Ancelotti was exceptional, in terms of technical value and mentality. Today everything has changed: the market, the competition.
“This Milan is following a policy that I like but which must be given time.”
“He trained me in Bologna, he is prepared on the pitch and in management,” Gilardino said.
“Today he is even more experienced, he will know how to try to reduce the intensity of the opponents, to appease their ferocity.
“We will have to suffer but they will also know how to put them in difficulty: Milan will play a great game.
“Who I fear most is Salah, my partner in Florence: supersonic speed, splits the games in two. And I like Klopp, he is practical, direct.”