LIVERPOOL VS INTER MILAN: PREVIEW
Liverpool turn their attentions to the Champions League tomorrow night, as Italian champions Internazionale visit Anfield with a 2-0 first leg deficit. The Reds are favourites to go through but Simone Inzaghi’s men will definitely put up a fight. Here’s a preview of the clash.
Inter were no pushovers at the San Siro in the first leg. They caused Jürgen Klopp’s side a lot of problems but just lacked the cutting edge to make it count when it mattered. Liverpool punished them in the second half with two goals against the run of play.
The 2-0 win flattered the Reds somewhat, with the encounter being more closely fought than the scoreline suggested. That’s what the best sides do though. Even when you play to your best and hold them for long periods, they can still undo you with moments of quality.
Since that meeting at the Giuseppe Meazza, the Nerazurri have had a tough time infront of goal. They went three games without scoring till bottom of the table Salernitana visited on Friday night. A resounding 5-0 win handed them a welcome confidence boost ahead of the trip to Anfield.
Inter know they face an uphill battle tomorrow night but they will give it a right go. If they can score first, the tie will be open and there could be some nerves jangling amongst the hosts. Expect their game plan to be built around a fast start.
Inzaghi will pump them up to play the best opening 15 minutes of their lives. If they can catch the Reds cold and get an early lead, they’ll be back into it. Then we will see more of what we saw in the first leg. A tactical battle with both sides looking to hurt each other whilst keeping the other at bay.
Liverpool themselves come into the game absolutely flying. They’ve strung together an impressive 12 game winning streak. They’re scoring lots of goals and keeping them out at the other end. They lifted the League Cup trophy at Wembley a fortnight ago and have received the turbo boost that comes with clinching silverware.
Jürgen Klopp’s side have more experience at this level than their opponents, having been to two finals and winning the prestigious trophy in 2019. Inter meanwhile have yet to go deep into the competition since their 2010 triumph under Jose Mourinho.
The Reds boast an amazing home record and know exactly what it takes to get through double legged ties. Under Klopp, they have only ever lost two ties in Europe, with their only home defeat in European competitions coming against Atletico Madrid two years ago.
They are made for occasions like this, with the Kop famous for its atmosphere on big European nights. They look especially imperious this season, and are the only side left in the competition to still have a 100% record – seven wins from seven against some of the top sides in Europe.
They won’t sit on their 2-0 first leg lead either. Jürgen Klopp will have his men fired up to attack the tie like it was still 0-0. That should make for another titanic battle. Two world class teams attacking each other, just what the premium competition in Europe should be all about.
The Nerazurri fell to a 2-0 defeat on their last trip to L4, back in 2008. They’ll be looking for a better outcome this time round but it’s hard to look past this Liverpool side at the minute. They will take some stopping.
For Liverpool, Thiago Alcantara, Joel Matip and Roberto Firmino all returned to team training today. The match might come just too soon for the latter considering he’s been out longer than the other two, having not played since scoring in the first leg at the San Siro three weeks ago.
For Inter, Inzaghi reported a clean bill of health in his pre-match press conference. Only the suspended Nico Barella will be absent, along with veteran left back Kolarov, who was left out of the squad for the competition.
Robin Gosens has returned from injury to belatedly make his debut for the club. He will be in the squad but Ivan Perisic is likely to start. The Croat was a constant thorn in the side in the first leg and will seek to renew his battle against Trent.
The 23 year old provided his 16th assist of the season on Saturday, but it was his work in his own defensive third that caught the eye. He produced a crucial goalline clearance to preserve his side’s lead after their high line was breached.
He will be tested by Perisic again, and how he deals with that will have a huge say in the outcome of the tie. He will definitely ask questions of the wingback going the other way too. It should be an interesting match up between the two.
The Argentine was on a long goal drought before he emphatically ended it against Salernitana. He had only managed 1 goal in his last 13 appearances for Inter, with that goal coming from the penalty spot.
He was back to his best on Friday night however, netting a hat trick before the hour mark. He attempted a whopping ten shots, by far the most in the match. He’s got the juices flowing again and will be heavily involved tomorrow night.
The 29 year old has been adapting to a new position in recent weeks. It came about by necessity after Jota and Firmino both picked up injuries in the first leg. Mané took up their role as the central striker and has done admirably well so far.
He’s played 4 matches in that role and has netted 4 goals. It will be interesting to see if he’ll continue there or revert back to his left wing position, or maybe even switch to the right wing on occasion. Wherever he lines up tomorrow night, expect him to be a danger man.
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