Liverpool are in a real purple patch of form, winning 11 of their last 12 games in all competitions – their only ‘slip-up’ the 0-0 draw against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final which eventually resulted in a penalty shootout win.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are in pole position to reach the last eight, after late goals from Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah gave them a 2-0 win in Italy.
Since then they’ve lifted the Carabao Cup and continued their winning run, as talk of a potential quadruple continues.
It’s difficult to see how Simone Inzaghi’s side – who trail rivals Milan by two points at the top of Serie A – can overturn the deficit despite a romping 5-0 win over Salernitana at the weekend.
After a perfect group-stage record of six wins from six, Klopp’s side made it seven on the bounce as Firmino headed home from Andy Robertson’s ball in the 75th minute before hotshot Salah wrapped up the scoring with seven minutes left to play in the first leg.
Having already placed the EFL Cup in their trophy cabinet and successfully booked their tickets to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, the quadruple dream is certainly well and truly alive for the hopeful Anfield faithful, no matter how much Klopp wants to downplay it.
Inter meanwhile have won just one of their four matches since and will need to produce a memorable display if they are to produce a huge upset at Anfield. The point is not lost on Inzaghi but he insists the Nerazurri remain motivated.
“It will be a difficult game, but we are highly motivated. It is important and essential to score a goal in the first half,” Inzaghi began.
“Inter haven’t reached this stage of the competition for many years and we knew that we would be facing a top team, having finished second in the group. We did our best in the first leg and we’ll do the same.”
Victory over West Ham on Saturday marked a 12th win on the bounce in all competitions for the ruthless Reds, who could become the first English team ever to win their opening eight games of a single Champions League campaign, and one would not put it past Klopp’s men to achieve that feat at a ground where they have not lost for over a year.
There is no other formula than a goal-laden performance for Inter if they are to have a chance of advancing to the last eight this week, but thankfully for the Nerazzurri boss, his strikers dusted off their best shooting boots for a thrilling warm-up victory over Salernitana.
Having failed to make the net ripple in the top flight since December, Lautaro Martinez returned to scoring ways in emphatic fashion with three of his side’s goals in that 5-0 thumping, and a man 11 years his senior in Edin Dzeko completed the rout with a quickfire brace of his own before the 70-minute mark.
When Martinez was struggling to fire, so were Inter, who endured a woeful four-game run without a win or even a single goal before teaching Salernitana a footballing lesson, but a second successive Scudetto is not out of the question for the reigning champions.
Not since the 2010-11 season have Inter Milan managed to make it as far as the last eight in the Champions League, but only one team in Champions League history has ever come back from a two-goal deficit in the first leg at home to advance – Manchester United against Paris Saint-Germain in 2018-19.
Furthermore, the 2-0 win at San Siro marked Liverpool’s third win and third clean sheet on the bounce against Inter in the Champions League, and only a performance as clinical as Friday’s will do for the visitors if an astounding Merseyside comeback is to be launched.
It’s now 12 wins in a row for Liverpool across all competitions, and though they weren’t at their best in the first leg they still showed how good they can be when they click into gear.
Going to Anfield in Europe is a tough enough assignment for any team, but it’s made even more difficult with Inter having a deficit to make up.
The Italian side will have no choice but to really go for it at some point, though that will leave space for Liverpool to ruthlessly exploit.
The travelling Nerazzurri faithful will hope to see Martinez in particular kick on after a confidence-boosting outing in the league, and Liverpool’s defence is certainly not impenetrable.
However, Klopp’s side have been unplayable in the past few weeks and have already gotten the better of Inzaghi’s side at San Siro, so we can only envisage the Reds advancing to the last eight.
Liverpool 3-1 Inter Milan