Liverpool turn their attentions to the Champions League Round of 16 as they head to the iconic San Siro to take on Italian champions Inter Milan. Here’s a preview of what promises to be an enthralling encounter.

Both sides have an identical league record this season, with Simone Inzaghi’s men also lying second in Serie A with 54 points from 24 matches. 16 wins, 6 draws and 2 defeats, with both sides having a game in hand over the team in first place too.

Inter’s task it’s simpler as club rivals AC Milan sit only a point ahead. Liverpool on the other hand, have a 9 point gap to make up on Manchester City. Simone Inzaghi has done a marvelous job since taking over from Antonio Conte over the summer.

He’s kept some of Conte’s ethos (the 3-5-2 formation) and added some layers of flair to the enterprise. Inter are possibly a better rounded team now than when they won the title last season. They did some excellent business in the summer too, which always helps.

Edin Dzeko was brought in to replace last season’s topscorer Romelu Lukaku who departed for Chelsea. The veteran has been simply sensational. He’s scored goals everywhere he’s been and has already made the fanbase forget all about the Belgian striker.

Losing Hakimi also stung the Nerazurri faithful but the signing of Euro 2020 breakthrough star Denzel Dumfries has plugged that particular gap. The Dutchman took his time to settle but has grown to become a key cog in the side in recent months. Joaquin Correa also joined from Lazio to offer more depth in attack.

Perhaps the most astute signing of them all was picking up Hakan Çalhanoğlu on a free from their city rivals. The talented schemer has been one of their best players this season, if not the best. The likes of Perisic, Lautaro, Barella and Brozovic have all been instrumental too.

Çalhanoğlu, Barella and Dzeko celebrate a goal

It’s a well drilled side with the likes of Bastoni, De Vrij and Skriniar also doing their part to protect Handanovic in goal. They work together like a well oiled machine and will pose a threat to Jürgen Klopp’s side.

The Nerazurri have already played some huge matches since the turn of the year, beating Lazio, Juventus and AS Roma and holding Atalanta and Napoli to stalemates. Their only defeat this year came against the Rossoneri as an Olivier Giroud quick fire double undid them.

Tomorrow night will be a step up in class and intensity as they lock horns with the 2019 Champions League winners. Having finished runners-up in group D behind Real Madrid, the Nerazurri will come into this tie as slight underdogs especially after losing home and away to Madrid in the group stages.

Liverpool on the other hand have been on fire in the Champions League this campaign. The Reds won all six of their group games (including a double over fellow Milan club AC) to top group B. Jürgen Klopp’s side boast more experience in the competition too having lost the 2018 final before winning it a year later.

The Merseyside club has a special relationship with the European Cup and are true European royalty. They will come into the tie as favourites but will know they face a side good enough to knock them out if they don’t play to their usual levels.

The Reds are in good form having won each of their last six games across all competitions, conceding just twice. They come in confident mood into a tie with so many tasty match ups. Dzeko vs Van Dijk, Thiago vs Brozovic, Çalhanoğlu vs Fabinho, Salah vs Bastoni, Trent vs Perisic etc.

Everywhere you look there’s a key battle to keep an eye on. With the away goal rule scrapped from this year’s competition, another level of intrigue and spice is added to the mix. Will that change the approach for both sides? Or they’ll both play their usual game, which is to play to win?

Diogo Jota could play a key role tomorrow night

Liverpool came out on top the last time these two sides met, winning 3-0 on aggregate. Two late goals by Kuyt and Gerrard handed Rafa Benitez’s side a 2-0 win at Anfield before a sweet Torres strike sealed qualification to the 2008 Quarter Finals..

Team News

For Liverpool, it’s once again a full available squad with Jordan Henderson shaking off the knock to the knee he suffered against Burnley. For the hosts, Gosens and Correa are both ruled out with a hamstring injury whilst Barella misses out due to suspension after getting sent off against Madrid.

Key Players

Diogo Jota

The 25 year old is expected to start after a dead leg meant he wasn’t risked from the start against Burnley. Should he line up in the middle, his pace, finishing ability and knack for being in the right place at the right time is sure to give De Vrij and Skriniar problems.

Hakan Çalhanoğlu

The Turkish international has made the smooth transition from the Rossoneri to the Nerazurri. He’s directly contributed to the most Serie A goals for Inter this season (14 – 8 goals and 6 assists). His set piece prowess and eye for a pass makes him a key man, especially in Barella’s absence.

Mohamed Salah

The Egyptian loves the grandest occasions and never fails to showcase his ability. Having already scored at the Wanda Metropolitano and indeed the San Siro in this season’s competition, he’ll be looking to leave his imprint on another big match against a big opponent.



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