Liverpool Boss Klopp Dishes In on Inter Ahead of Blockbuster Tie

Liverpool gaffer Jurgen Klopp expects ‘rock solid’ Inter to be at their best when they welcome the Reds at the Giuseppe Meazza in the Champions League Round of 16 first leg tie. The former Dortmund coach holds Simone Inzaghi and his men in high regard, although the Nerazzurri have witnessed a downturn of form in recent match weeks – with just two wins in five league matches.

Speaking to the press in his pre-match conference (via Eurosport), the experienced Champions League winner shed light on what he expects from the Italian champions as Liverpool look to overcome them over two legs.

He said: “Inter is an absolute top, top, top class team. Top-class players, top-class manager, champions last year and, with all respect to the other teams, I think probably the best team this year again in Italy. You can see that in the (Serie A) table at the moment.

They are a top-class team and we need to show a top-class performance to even have a chance. But why shouldn’t we try?”

Inter have reached this stage of the competition after being shunned out of the group stage for two consecutive years – finishing 3rd and 4th in their groups – in 2019/20 and 2020/21 respectively.

“They are really rock solid, they have creativity on the pitch, they are very well organised and very well drilled in everything that they do. Their individual quality is big, so that’s the Champions League, no doubt about that,” he commented.

Young midfield ace Nicolo Barella misses the two-legged clash due to his red card against Real Madrid in the final group game for lashing out on Eder Militao after the Brazilian pushed him into the advertising boards.

Klopp, who admires Barella, says that it is ‘not bad’ that the EURO 2020 winner does not play against them. However, he is wary of the threat Barella’s direct replacement Arturo Vidal poses in central midfield.

“That Barella is not able to play is not bad for us! He is a really good player, a really good player. I like him a lot. He has all the things you want from a midfield player. He’s aggressive, he’s technical and he can run for ages and all these kinds of things.

So he’s a top-class player. But – I’m not 100 per cent sure – probably the replacement will be Arturo Vidal. So that’s experience at its best. He’s played everywhere at the top level and I think, in these games, Arturo is especially motivated, so I’m not so sure it’s such an advantage for us that he will play instead of Barella,” said the German tactician.

This is Inter’s first appearance at this stage of the competition in a decade, having last made their presence known in 2011/12 when they crashed out against Olympique de Marseille