Liverpool will be aiming to get the job done when they face Inter Milan in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie.
The 2021/22 UEFA Champions League returns to action this week as the second leg fixtures of the Round of 16 stage get underway. Things will kick off on Tuesday night with a blockbuster tie at Anfield as Liverpool play hosts to Serie A champions Inter Milan, looking to go through to the quarter-finals.
Liverpool are the favourites to go through after cruising to a 2-0 victory in the first leg at the Giuseppe Meazza last month, riding on second-half strikes from Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah. Since then, the Reds have won each of their five fixtures in all competitions, most recently defeating West Ham United 1-0 in the Premier League. They will have to guard against complacency and focus on getting the job done professionally.
Inter Milan, meanwhile, have seen their form dwindle in recent weeks, which has threatened to derail their campaign. Before this weekend, Simone Inzaghi’s men were on a five-game winless streak in all competitions, including the defeat to Liverpool. However, they did return to winning ways on Friday night when they thrashed Salernitana 5-0 in Serie A and will be hoping to carry that momentum forward to Anfield and mount an unlikely comeback.
Ahead of this heavyweight clash on Tuesday night with a place in the Champions League quarter-finals at stake, The Hard Tackle will take a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
In a major boost for Liverpool, Roberto Firmino, Thiago Alcantara, and Joel Matip have trained ahead of the game and are in contention for selection against Inter Milan. Jurgen Klopp is unlikely to make many changes to the side that eked out a narrow win over West Ham United over the weekend.
Roberto Firmino, Thiago Alcantara and Joel Matip have returned to full training, Jürgen Klopp confirmed today.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 7, 2022
Alisson Becker should guard the goal for the Reds as usual, while Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson are expected to hold on to their places in the defence. The returning Matip could get the nod over Ibrahima Konate alongside van Dijk at the heart of the backline.
Fabinho will anchor the midfield and look to curb the influence of Inter Milan’s primary playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu. He will have support from captain Jordan Henderson. The fit-again Thiago should get the nod in the third midfield slot and look to dictate play. Harvey Elliott and Naby Keita could get minutes in the second half should Liverpool seal the deal early in the game.
Firmino has been sidelined for a while and might not be rushed back by Klopp. The manager could continue with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Luiz Diaz as the attacking triumvirate on Tuesday night. Diogo Jota and Firmino could come on at some point in the second period.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Mane, Diaz
Inter Milan will have to make do without the services of midfield mainstay Nicolo Barella, who will miss out because of suspension. Aleksandar Kolarov is unavailable, having not been registered for the Champions League knockout stages. Ivan Perisic, who missed the Serie A clash against Salernitana, is back in contention, which will come as a boost for Simone Inzaghi.
📷 | DEPARTURE
Nerazzurri jet off to Liverpool ✈️
— Inter 🏆🇮🇹 (@Inter_en) March 7, 2022
Considering the impressive performance that the Nerazzurri put up last time out, the manager is unlikely to make a lot of tweaks to his lineup. Captain Samir Handanovic is a certainty between the sticks where he will be shielded by the three-person defensive unit of Milan Skriniar, Stefan de Vrij and Alessandro Bastoni, who will have their task cut out against the Liverpool attack.
Denzel Dumfries and the returning Perisic should slot in as the wing-backs for Inter Milan. While they are known for their attacking qualities, the duo will be tested defensively by the Liverpool full-backs, who will push forward on every given occasion.
Marcelo Brozovic will hold the key for Inter Milan in the middle of the park, and keeping him from getting on the ball could cut out a key avenue for the visitors. Hakan Calhanoglu will also be pivotal to the Nerazzurri’s chances of pulling off a comeback on Tuesday night. Arturo Vidal should take up the third midfield slot with Barella ruled out.
Lautaro Martinez, who bounced back to goalscoring ways in the last game, and Edin Dzeko should form the strike partnership for the Serie A champions against Liverpool.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skriniar, de Vrij, Bastoni; Dumfries, Vidal, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Perisic; Martinez, Dzeko
- Liverpool have won each of their three games against Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League without conceding a single goal.
- Inter Milan have lost four of their previous five away games against English sides in the UEFA Champions League (W1).
- Liverpool have won all seven of their games in the UEFA Champions League this season. Excluding qualifiers, they could become just the third team in the history of the competition to win their first eight games in a single edition of the tournament after Barcelona (2002/03) and Bayern Munich (2019/20).
- Inter Milan striker Edin Dzeko has scored in three of his last four starts at Anfield across all competitions, including the most recent two.
- Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has scored eight goals in seven UEFA Champions League appearances for Liverpool this season. The Egyptian is averaging a goal every 69 minutes this term – his best goal-ratio in a single season in the competition.
Player to Watch
Lautaro Martinez has the most shot attempts in the Champions League (26).
He has 0 goals. pic.twitter.com/LhyQFAMolH
— Matchday365 (@Matchday365) February 16, 2022
After a run of eight Serie A matches without a goal, Lautaro Martinez returned to form on Friday night against Salernitana, as he plundered a timely hat-trick to lead Inter Milan to a much-needed victory. While a tally of 15 goals in 36 matches is not to be frowned upon, the Argentine is yet to score a single goal in the UEFA Champions League this season, which has become a major issue for the Italian giants.
The 24-year-old was poor in the reverse fixture last month, struggling to get past the imperious Virgil van Dijk. He will need to step up to the plate and produce a top-quality display at Anfield if Inter Milan are to stand a chance of progressing to the next round.
Liverpool 2-0 Inter Milan
Inter Milan ended their five-game winless run by thrashing Salernitana last time out. However, in Liverpool, they will face one of the most in-form teams around. The Reds have not lost a single game across all competitions in 2022, stringing together a run of 15 matches without a defeat. Furthermore, they will be playing at their fortress in Anfield, which can be a daunting place to visit for the best of teams.
As a result, it is hard to see Inter Milan mount a comeback on Tuesday night, with Liverpool likely to pick up another win and ease through to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals to keep the hopes of a quadruple burning bright.