Liverpool host Inter Milan at Anfield in the UEFA Champions League round of 16-second leg. The Reds hold a 2-0 lead from the first leg in Italy and simply have to lose by one goal or less to progress. Simone Inzaghi’s side played well at the San Siro but didn’t create many clear-cut chances. They will need an early goal in this one or they face a long evening of possible damage limitation.
Liverpool are 15 matches unbeaten in all competitions. In the Champions League, they have won all seven of their matches in the current season – some achievement considering they faced Porto, Atletico Madrid, AC Milan twice, and Inter Milan. Their last eight matches have seen six clean sheets. After the first leg 2-0 at Inter, they beat Norwich 3-1 and thrashed Leeds 6-0 at home.
A 0-0 Carabao Cup final scoreline brought success on penalties for their first silverware of the season. They since beat Norwich 2-1 in the FA Cup (resting more of their best XI) before a somewhat fortunate 1-0 home win against West Ham. Sadio Mane got the goal but they gave up several very presentable chances to their opponents.
Liverpool Team News
Klopp will select his very best XI and won’t take any chances in his selection. This match should come too early for Roberto Firmino. It is a straight choice between Diogo Jota upfront or using Mane as a false nine with the exciting Luis Diaz down the left.
Thiago Alcancata (injury) and Joel Matip (illness) could be back on the bench. Naby Keita and Ibrahima Konante will take their places in the XI.
With a tough Premier League title race as a distraction, Liverpool will probably try to do just enough in this match. An early goal would put them most of the way to the quarter-finals. The game could open up later on as Inter throw many forward.
Expect a fast start thanks to the Anfield crowd but taking their foot off the pedal quite early on.
Inter have suffered a real dip in form of late. Their last eight matches have brought just two wins. After the disappointing result but good performance in the first leg against Liverpool, they were shocked 2-0 at home by Sassuolo in Serie A. That defeat was followed by a 0-0 draw at Genoa in the league, putting a real dent in their title hopes.
A very cagey, dull 0-0 draw followed with AC Milan in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-finals. Ahead of this second leg, Inter got back to winning ways by thrashing bottom-placed Salernitana 5-0 at home. Lautaro Martinez ended a 10-match scoring drought with a hattrick whilst Edin Dzeko got the other two.
Inter Team News
Coach Simone Inzaghi is still without Nicolo Barrella in the central midfield due to suspension. Arturo Vidal will probably deputise as he did in the first leg.
Robin Gosens has returned from injury and has made his Inter debut. However, Ivan Perisic is expected to get the nod at left wing-back at Anfield. It could be the same XI from the first leg for the Nerazzurri.
Inter will give everything to try to turn this tie around. Any win by two goals takes the match into extra time. Inzaghi’s side would love an early goal but they need to quieten the Anfield crowd and any fast Liverpool start.
With 30 minutes to go if the tie is still at 0-0 or if Inter lead by a goal, the coach could throw on Alexis Sanchez as an additional forward to try to chase the game.
Liverpool have won 7 CL matches in a row
Liverpool’s last 3 CL matches have seen them draw HT/win FT
Liverpool have scored 2+ goals in each of their last 7 in the CL
Inter have won 2 of their last 8 matches
Inter have not scored in their last 3 matches against LFC
Inter are winless in 4 away matches, scoring just 1 goal
This does look likely to be a Liverpool win once again. The game could open up in the second half as Inter chase a result.
Best Bet: Liverpool win and over 2.5 goals at 2.25
Alternative Bet: Liverpool (-1 spread) at 2.45
Goalscorer Tip: Salah anytime goalscorer at 2.00
Alternative Bet: Liverpool win and Salah to score at 2.78
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