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Inter need inspiration for Liverpool visit

The final five minutes of the first leg at Anfield left Liverpool FC holding a strong hand as they prepare for the return game with FC Internazionale Milano at San Siro.

Inter goalkeeper Júlio César shows his disappointment at Anfield
Inter goalkeeper Júlio César shows his disappointment at Anfield ©Getty Images

The final five minutes of the first leg at Anfield drastically altered the complexion of this UEFA Champions League tie and left Liverpool FC holding a strong hand as they prepare for the return game with FC Internazionale Milano at San Siro.

• Dirk Kuyt's deflected shot and Steven Gerrard's raking low drive were crushing late blows to a visiting side who had battled bravely for an hour with ten men following the dismissal of Marco Materazzi for a second yellow card after only 30 minutes. The central defender misses this game as the Nerazzurri resume their eighth attempt to win the UEFA Champions League.

• Inter's history at home against sides from England showed that they established an immediate supremacy with the first five games all resulting in home wins, including a 3-0 defeat of Liverpool in the 1964/65 European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-final second leg en route to a second successive triumph in the competition. In none of those five contests was their defence breached and it meant that in four the Milan club went through to the next round, the exception being when they faced Aston Villa FC in the 1994/95 UEFA Cup first round. After the two games had ended in 1-0 wins for the home side, Villa won through in a penalty shoot-out.

• Manchester United FC were the first English visitors to escape defeat, recording a 1-1 draw in the 1998/99 UEFA Champions League quarter-final to complete a 3-1 aggregate triumph on their way to a second European Cup victory. Inter's last two games at home to travellers from England resulted in a 2-2 draw with Newcastle United FC in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League second group stage and then a crushing 5-1 defeat in the following season's group stage fixture at home to Arsenal FC. In nine ties overall, calculated on a home-and-away basis, Inter have come out on top on six occasions.

• Roberto Mancini's team, seeking a fourth quarter-final place in the last six seasons, showed remorseless form in the group stage, winning all three home games while scoring nine goals. It ensured they won Group G by four points while their last six games at the San Siro in the competition have resulted in five wins and a draw.

• Contrastingly, after their first two away fixtures, Liverpool seemed to be heading for an early departure from a competition in which they have reached two finals in the past three seasons, facing Inter's neighbours AC Milan on each occasion with a victory in 2005 and defeat last May. A 2-1 reverse in Turkey against Beşiktaş JK on Matchday 3 left the Merseyside club at the foot of Group A with just a single point, gained from the 1-1 draw at FC Porto in the first round of fixtures.

• Rafael Benítez's men then got down to business in a serious way, winning all their next three games to clinch second place in the section with ten points, one fewer than Porto. They finished off with a resounding 4-0 triumph at Olympique de Marseille.

• Liverpool's first four visits to Italy for competitive UEFA games left them winless although the 1983/84 European Cup final against AS Roma, staged at the latter's Stadio Olimpico home, ended in triumph in a penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 draw following extra time.

• The English side won at the Olimpico against Roma again in the 2000/01 UEFA Cup fourth round and gained a 0-0 draw there in the following season's UEFA Champions League second group stage against the same side. With a 0-0 draw at Juventus in the 2004/05 quarter-final on their way to lifting club football's greatest club trophy for the fifth time, the Anfield club have remained undefeated in their last three visits to Italy.

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