Inter 0-2 Liverpool: Firmino and Salah provide late one-two for Reds
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Liverpool rode their luck against Inter before late goals from Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.
Article top media content
Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah struck in the closing 15 minutes to earn Liverpool a 2-0 win away to Inter in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie.
16' Hakan Çalhanoğlu shot cannons off crossbar
59' Klopp makes triple substitution
60' Džeko strike ruled out for offside
75' Firmino heads in Robertson's corner
83' Low Salah finish doubles Reds' lead
Match in brief: Resolute Reds leave it late
The Reds rode their luck for long periods, not least when Hakan Çalhanoğlu collected Ivan Perišić's cross and shot against the bar 16 minutes in. Çalhanoğlu was instrumental for the hosts, providing excellent set-piece deliveries for both Milan Škriniar and Denzel Dumfries to go close with their heads.
Sadio Mané's first-half header was the closest Liverpool had come when Jürgen Klopp, his team on the back foot, made a triple change just before the hour. Edin Džeko then had an effort ruled out for offside but the momentum soon began to shift, Firmino's delightful header from Andy Robertson's corner tipping the scales entirely.
Salah rubber-stamped a vintage away performance when he finished inside a crowded penalty area with just seven minutes left.
PlayStation® Player of the Match: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
"Very solid in defence, making some excellent and important interceptions. He was a real leader for his team, his passing was accurate and he was also a threat at set pieces."
UEFA Technical Observer panel
Paolo Menicucci, Inter reporter
The result may not be the one they wanted but Inter were on a par with Liverpool for nearly 80 minutes. Simone Inzaghi's men played with intensity and were prepared to take risks even in the face of their opponents' lethal attack. They created the biggest chance of the first half and dominated the game for long spells in the second. Two late goals leave them with a mountain to climb at Anfield, however.
Matthew Howarth, Liverpool reporter
Liverpool had their backs against the wall for the majority of the second half but – as has been the case on so many occasions in the Champions League under Klopp – Firmino's movement and eye for goal set them on their way before Salah sealed the victory. Inter certainly played their part in an enthralling and at times pulsating contest, but the Serie A champions will need to produce something special to turn the tie around.
Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool manager: “We didn’t have a brilliant day, but a good enough day to get a result.”
Virgil van Dijk, Player of the Match: "One of the messages before the game was that we needed to be ready to suffer. It was a very good performance and clean sheet."
Simone Inzaghi, Inter coach: "Football is decided by small details and that Firmino header made all the difference tonight. This performance, however, should give us plenty of confidence because we played a great game."
Michael Owen, BT Sport
"It wasn't Liverpool’s best performance at all, but they stay in games even when they're not playing well. They have so much quality going forward that they're always going to nick a goal or two."
• Aged 18 years and 318 days, Harvey Elliott became the youngest player ever to start a European Cup match for Liverpool (excluding qualifiers).
• Salah has now scored 12 goals in his last 12 Champions League outings.
• James Milner came off the bench to make his 800th career appearance.
• Klopp's side have won ten of their last 13 Champions League games away from Anfield.
• Fabinho made his 150th appearance for Liverpool.
Fantasy star performers
Virgil van Dijk – 14 points
Andy Robertson – 10 points
Mohamed Salah – 8 points
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8 points
Ibrahima Konaté – 8 points
Inter: Handanovič; Škriniar, De Vrij (Ranocchia 87), Bastoni (Dimarco 90+1); Dumfries (Darmian 87), Vidal (Gagliardini 87), Brozović, Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Perišić; Džeko, Martínez (Sánchez 70)
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Van Dijk, Robertson; Elliott (Keita 59), Fabinho (Henderson 59), Thiago (Milner 86); Salah, Jota (Firmino 46), Mané (Díaz 59)