Simone Inzaghi’s Inter Milan host Liverpool for the Champions League round of 16 first leg against Jurgen Klopp’s side (3 p.m. ET on CBS and Paramount+). Nerazzurri are back to play in the knockout stage for the first time since they lost against Olympique Marseille in the round of 16 in the 2011-2012 edition. After their return to the most important club European competition, they never managed to go beyond the group stage under either Luciano Spalletti or Antonio Conte.
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Featured Game | Inter Milan vs. Liverpool
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Inzaghi won’t count on Italian midfielder Nicolò Barella, who was suspended for two matches after a red card against Real Madrid on December 7 in the last match of the group stage and should be replaced by veteran Arturo Vidal. Alessandro Bastoni is expected to start and recover on time after an ankle injury he suffered last week against AS Roma. Edin Dzeko will lead Inter’s attack, with either Lautaro Martinez or Alexis Sanchez playing next to him.
Hakan Calhanoglu spoke during the usual pre-match press conference about his feelings about the game: “In six months here I’ve won a trophy, I’m very happy with that because I hadn’t yet done so. The Champions League is a dream, we have to stay united and play our game so that we can do well. I’ve already lost the Champions League round of 16, against Atletico Madrid (with Bayer Leverkusen), all of us as players want to go through”. Hakan Calhanoglu led Inter with 15 chances created during the Champions League group stage, but was just 5th in expected assists with 0.9.
This will be the fifth meeting between Inter Milan and Liverpool in European competition. Each of the previous four have been in the knockout stages of the European Cup, with Inter progressing over two legs in the 1964-65 semifinals – a year in which they went on to lift the trophy – and Liverpool emerging from the Round of 16 in 2007-08. After that match former Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini announced he was leaving the club at the of the season. The club then decided to appoint Jose Mourinho as his successor, who led Nerazzurri to win the Champions League two years later. In the current UEFA Champions League format (since 2003-04), Inter Milan have been eliminated from two of their previous three two-legged knockout ties against English opponents. All three of these have been at the Round of 16 stage, losing out to Liverpool in 2007-08 and Manchester United in 2008-09, before eliminating Chelsea in 2009-10.
Liverpool are the favorites to win the match but Inter Milan need a good result to hope to have some chances at Anfield on March 8. PICK: Inter Milan 1 Liverpool 1