Simone Inzaghi says his Inter Milan team are going to Anfield aiming to reach the Champions League quarterfinals despite the odds being firmly against them against red-hot Liverpool.
Inter fell 2-0 to the Reds at the San Siro in the last month after matching Jurgen Klopp’s side for three quarters of the match but failing to get past a superb backline marshalled by Virgil van Dijk.
The defeat leaves Inzaghi with the unenviable task of trying to become just the second ever team to overturn a two-goal home leg deficit in a knockout tie, against a Liverpool team which has won its last 12 matches and not lost at home in a year.
“We were punished too harshly in the first match… now we have a game against one of the best teams in Europe but we’re going there in good spirits, motivated and with the aim of making it a contest,” Inzaghi told reporters.
“Finding a goal in the first half is essential really. It’s going to be a difficult match but we’ve had three days to prepare and the boys are focussed… We know what we’re about to face, together with Bayern Munich and Manchester City they are in my view the best team in Europe.”
Inter’s loss to Liverpool was their first knockout match in the competition in a decade and Inzaghi says the three-time European champions need to reacquaint themselves with the highest levels of continental football.
They are engaged in a three-way Serie A title race and will be boosted both by Friday’s 5-0 thumping of Salernitana, which ended a four-match run of matches without scoring, and the presence of a strong squad missing only the suspended Nicolo Barella.
The inability of Serie A’s highest scoring team to pierce Liverpool’s defence stood out as an example of the gap between Italy’s best and the European elite.
“It’s been a long time that we were in the last 16. We were good in the group and we deserved to go through,” added Inzaghi.
“The draw didn’t go our way but regardless we knew before that we were going to face a really good team. Growth is a gradual process, we faced the first leg in the best way possible and we’ll do the same tomorrow.”