Inter Milan host six-time European Champions Liverpool at the San Siro on Wednesday night in one of the standout ties of the round of 16.
The Nerazzurri have reached the knockout stages of the competition for the first time in a decade (2011/12) and come into the clash as underdogs against the 2018/19 winners.
Simone Inzaghi’s Inter side have been in fine form domestically despite failing to win their last two games (L, 2-1 vs AC Milan, D 1-1 vs Napoli) and can return to the top of Serie A, displacing city rivals AC Milan, if they win their game in hand. Inter have lost just twice in the league all season, the fewest defeats throughout the division.
Inter have also been in fierce form in front of goal during the 2021/22 Serie A season, scoring a league-high 55 goals from just 24 matches played. The defence has also played their part, conceding 20 goals during this period, second best only to Napoli.
Looking back at their exploits across Europe, the Nerazzurri finished second in Group D on 10 points, five behind eventual group winners Real Madrid. While Inzaghi’s side performed admirably against the record European Cup winners, Carlo Ancelotti’s side triumphed on both occasions.
Performance levels will need to be significantly upped however if Inter are to stand any chance of sending Liverpool, who are widely considered as one of the tournament favourites, out of the Champions League.
Inter have been knocked out of two of their previous three knockout stage ties by English opponents. They were defeated by Liverpool in 2007/08, lost out to Manchester United in 2008/09 before going on to conquer Chelsea 3-1 on aggregate in 2009/10 – Jose Mourinho’s Inter side went on to lift the trophy that year, their last European Cup triumph.
Inter will be without Joaquin Correa and Robin Gosens due to injury and Nicolo Barella following his sending off against Real Madrid. Aleksandar Kolarov will also be unavailable after he was removed from their Champions League squad list to accommodate new January arrivals.
Inter Milan Predicted Team:
Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni; Dumfries, Vidal, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Perisic; Martinez, Dzeko
Jurgen Klopp’s side were one of just three teams in this year’s competition who finished the group stage with a 100% record and have been displaying fine form in the Premier League.
The Reds were made to work particularly hard for the three points in their most recent 1-0 win against bottom of the league Burnley and remain the closest chaser to Guardiola’s table-topping Manchester City.
Fresh off the back of an Africa Cup of Nations triumph with Senegal, Sadio Mane is expected to play a pivotal role for Liverpool alongside fellow finalist Mohamed Salah in Klopp’s front line.
A touching moment between Liverpool teammates.
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) February 6, 2022
Klopp’s side progressed from Group B in sensational style, scoring 17 and conceding just six goals on their path to finishing 11 points clear of second placed Atletico Madrid. Liverpool also bested Inter’s rivals AC Milan on both occasions, a possible motivational element for the Reds boss considering Inter’s recent defeat to that very same opposition.
Liverpool were originally drawn against Red Bull Salzburg in the last 16, however, in rather bizarre circumstances a re-draw was ordered. Second time round a tie against Inter was confirmed and while this may prove slightly more of a challenge than Salzburg, Klopp’s side enter the match as favourites.
Liverpool Predicted Team:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Jota, Mane
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 15, 2022
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