Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino scored as Liverpool handed Serie A champions Inter Milan a 2-0 defeat at the Giuseppe Meazza in their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg clash.
Coming into the game, both sides possessed similar domestic records. They have both picked up 54 points in the league and sat in second place with the exact same number of wins this season in their respective leagues. The match promised to be a tough one, and ultimately delivered top quality entertainment.
Both sides were evenly matched throughout the first half, and none could really do damage to the other in the opening 45 minutes. There were no attempts of note, but the battle was intense.
Upon the resumption of the second 45 minutes, the home side found a second gear and successfully put Liverpool on the back foot. Ivan Perisic was having a field day up against Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold on Inter’s left flank, and the Croatian created a number of openings, which the Nerazzurri failed to convert.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp saw his side being battered and turned to his bench, bringing Jordan Henderson, Luis Diaz and Naby Keita on in place of Fabinho, Harvey Elliott and Sadio Mane. The triple change worked wonders as Liverpool began to wrest control from the Italians.
Luis Diaz, in particular, looked very lively upon his introduction. Within minutes of his introduction, he forced a block from Inter defender Milan Skriniar as he looked to open his Liverpool account.
It took 75 minutes for the game’s first shot on target to arrive, but it was this attempt that put Liverpool in front away from home.
Andy Robertson whipped in a perfect corner that was met by striker Roberto Firmino at the near post with a glancing header into the far corner of the net. The Brazilian had been introduced for Diogo Jota at half-time.
Before long, the Reds managed to double their advantage through mercurial forward Mohamed Salah. Another cross, this time from Alexander-Arnold, was not dealt with by the Inter defence and Virgil Van Dijk helped the ball on towards the penalty spot, from where Salah smashed a shot into the net via a deflection in the 83rd minute.
Liverpool have a huge advantage going into the second leg at Anfield after this important win away from home. Inter have a monumental task in front of them if they are to emerge from this round.