Football

Inter Milan vs. Liverpool predictions: Why Mohamed Salah vs. Alessandro Bastoni is our top matchup to watch

In one of the standout ties of the Champions League round of 16, Inter Milan on Wednesday play host to Liverpool (3 p.m. ET | CBS and Paramount+) at the San Siro, two of Europe’s most formidable attacks facing off in a match that is sure to bring goals. No side registered more shots in the group stages than the Serie A champions with Liverpool, who won all six of their games, third in that particular ranking as these two racked up eight and 17 goals respectively.

Inter welcome their opponents to Milan as strong underdogs but Simone Inzaghi will know that upsetting the Reds would send out a strong message to the rest of the field. If they can beat Liverpool over two legs they can beat anyone else. 

Inter Milan vs. Liverpool

Date: Wednesday, Feb. 16 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | TV: (CBS/Paramount+)
Odds: Inter Milan +235; Draw +265; Liverpool +109 (via Caesars Sportsbook)  

Featured Game | Inter Milan vs. Liverpool

One matchup to watch: Mohamed Salah vs. Alessandro Bastoni. If he is fit — and the pre-match signs are that he will be — this could be a great opportunity for Alessandro Bastoni to show the world why he is considered one of the most promising young Italian center backs. He will certainly be put through his paces, placed on the left of Simone Inzaghi’s back three, he will likely find Mohamed Salah driving straight at him. Even the best defenders in the world cannot be confident of stopping the Liverpool forward for a full 90 minutes, perhaps the best they can do is hope to make it more difficult for him and to force the Reds to explore other attacking channels. Equally, Salah against a defender who may not be at peak condition? This could be tough.

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Most likely to score a goal: Edin Džeko. The Inter striker has a surprisingly impressive record against Liverpool and has scored in his last three meetings with the Reds, including both legs of the thrilling 2018 semifinal defeat for Roma. He is smart enough to know not to get involved in aerial duels with Virgil van Dijk and will instead be sniffing around for the poacher’s opportunities that Jurgen Klopp’s defense do give up.

Man of the Match pick: Thiago Alcântara. Thiago is just the sort of steadying influence Klopp will want in his midfield in the San Siro – Burnley may be a very different opponent to the champions of Italy, but the way he took the danger out of that contest augurs well for what might otherwise be a high-octane clash.

Match prediction: Inter Milan 1, Liverpool 2. This could be tight until late on, but watch for the strength in depth available to Liverpool to swing the tie off the bench. Whether it is Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota or anyone else, Inter could be overwhelmed late on.



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