Luckless Salah in 5/10 showing as Liverpool fall but still advanceTheSportsWig Admin
Despite losing 1-0 on Tuesday night, Liverpool got the better of Inter Milan over two legs to win their Champions League round-of-16 tie 2-1 on aggregate to advance to the quarterfinals.
Lautaro Martinez gave Inter hope of a famous comeback at Anfield when he scored emphatically in the 61st minute, but the reigning Serie A champions’ enthusiasm would be short-lived. Moments after play resumed, Alexis Sanchez picked up his second yellow card of the evening, and his sending off in the 63rd minute saw the Nerazzurri down to 10 men and any chance of a place in the quarterfinals gone with him.
The Reds defended well for the most part and didn’t allow too many dangerous chances for Inter to work with. The goal they conceded was simply a magnificent piece of play by Martinez.
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Mohamed Salah didn’t have luck on his side, hitting the post twice in the second half. On another night, that lack of clinical finishing could have been a problem.
Manager rating out of 10
7 — Jurgen Klopp timed his substitutions well by bringing on two midfielders who could control the tempo around the hour mark. His team selection respected the threat of Inter despite the 2-0 first-leg lead, earning a well-deserved route through to the next round.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 6 — Alert to a clever free kick by Hakan Calhanoglu, who tried to catch the Liverpool goalkeeper out. Couldn’t do anything about Martinez’s goal that whistled into the top corner.
DF Andy Robertson, 7 — A solid defensive display prevented Denzel Dumfries from having too much joy on the flank. Robertson also looked to get crosses into the box when he could, though he will be disappointed with his pass close to full time that should have found Salah.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 7 — The Netherlands captain reacted quickly to the danger to snuff out counterattacks and kept Martinez quiet outside of his strike.
DF Joel Matip, 6 — Close to opening the scoring with a strong header that rattled the bar from Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s free kick. A sloppy pass gave Inter a way back into the game.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 8 — Alexander-Arnold looked the player most likely to make something happen on the night. His set-piece delivery led to Liverpool’s best chances of the game, and he almost scored himself with a free kick that was watched cautiously past the post by Samir Handanovic.
MF Fabinho, 8 — Anchored the midfield well and was often the man to win back possession for Klopp’s side. The Brazil international’s play allowed Liverpool to get the ball up the field in an overall much better display than he gave at the San Siro.
MF Thiago, 7 — An exquisite pass forced Handanovic to clear into danger, only for Salah to strike the post with the whole goal to aim at.
MF Curtis Jones, 7 — The 21-year-old always looked to attack the space when in possession, forcing the opposition to work hard to get close to him. Usually made the right option with his passing decisions.
FW Sadio Mane, 6 — Looked to stretch the Inter back line but faced similar struggles to Salah on the opposite flank, with Simone Inzaghi’s defence quick to close down space. Fared better when playing more centrally and was quick to provide a link to the midfield.
FW Diogo Jota, 5 — A fairly anonymous performance from Jota saw the Portugal international struggle to find space with the visitors keeping their three centre-backs narrow. Jota worked hard in the second half but overall couldn’t find a solution for the Serie A champions’ defence.
FW Mohamed Salah, 5 — Displayed some good moments of link-up play but wasn’t as effective as normal. The Egypt international didn’t have his finishing boots on the night, striking the post on two occasions in the second half.
MF Naby Keita, 6 — Maintained possession and helped utilise the extra man advantage by playing patiently in midfield.
MF Jordan Henderson, 6 — Organised the midfield well and looked to play simple while positioning safely to deny counterattacks. Pressed the ball well at the right moments.
FW Luis Diaz, N/R — Introduced for Jota for the final seven minutes.