Liverpool rally past Inter to take a 2 goal advantage to Anfield

(Football news) Liverpool took a big step towards qualifying for the quarter finals as they scrapped through a 2-0 victory over Inter Milan. Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah scored in the second half as Liverpool took a big advantage in the Champions League round-of-16. Inter had the better of the first-half chances, with Hakan Calhanoglu firing against the crossbar when afforded too much time in the penalty area as they were being rallied by the San Siro crowd but ultimately couldn’t get past Van Dijik and Konate in the defence.

Liverpool struggled to create any clear cut opportunities as they didn’t have shots on target till the first goal as the match was being dominated by Inter. Jurgen Klopp saw his side struggle   and made changes in the second half, and one of those substitutes came up clutch as Roberto Firmino beautifully flicked home from an Andy Robertson perfect corner to break the deadlock in the 75th minute. Salah then put the icing on the cake when he added a second on 83 minutes after he picked up the loose ball in the penalty area and scored very smartly after Inter failed to clear a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross. The Egyptian has now scored eight goals in seven Champions League starts this season and scored his 24th goal of the season. James Milner made history as he came on as a substitute to make his 800th career appearance. 

Inter were back in the Champions League knockout stages for the first time in a decade and started off brightly in front of a San Siro crowd which was not quite full capacity as they were unhindered by COVID-19 restrictions. Inter and Argentine striker Lautaro Martinez shot wide early on from distance, before Calhanoglu went even close and hit the crossbar as Liverpool had plenty of efforts at goal in the first half but struggled to get the hold of the game. Sadio Mane in the first half was the closest to score after he tried an overhead kick which just went wide of the target. Ivan Perisic was causing havoc down the left flank but Inter couldn’t capitalize on the good work he was doing, Trent was having a torrid time defending him initially but once they went ahead he finally got the grips over Perisic.

Inter played really well without creating many clear-cut opportunities to  score from as they will need to produce a miracle performance at Anfield to stand any chance of qualification. Even with the away goals rule no longer in play, the victory puts the 6 time Champions League winners in a commanding position ahead of the return leg on March 8. Liverpool now have won all seven of their Champions League matches this season, extending their longest ever winning run in the Champions League.

"We expected to be under pressure because this is the Champions League. One of the messages before the game was that we needed to be ready to suffer. It was a very good performance and a clean sheet." Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk after the match said

"It is still dangerous, It is only half-time. We don't feel like we are halfway through and can cruise. We will have to be ready for them again. Inter are a good side. I didn't say 'job done, put your feet on the table' in the past so why should I think differently about it now? They are a very physical team. They played real smart balls. They have this deep last line and in the beginning we did very well. I was not surprised – they are good. We know that. We have to be ready for the second half." Klopp said after the match

Also read: Bayern and Salzburg draw after late Coman equaliser


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