Inter Milan vs Liverpool score, ratings: Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah have Reds close to Champions League quarter-finals

Liverpool are on course to qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals after securing a well-deserved 2-0 win at Inter Milan on Wednesday in their round of 16 first leg. The Reds dominated the odds for most of the game, but it looked like it would end in a 0-0 draw as the seconds ticked away. Substitute Roberto Firmino and superstar striker Mohamed Salah had other ideas and both scored in the final quarter to give Liverpool a comfortable lead. Firmino’s winning goal came from a corner where the Brazilian scored an incredible goal in the 75th minute:

The Reds can now even lose the next game in March by one goal and still qualify for the last eight. With no away goal rules, only a two-goal loss would give the second leg more time.

Inter finished the game with zero shots on goal and rarely looked like a threat apart from a crossbar kick from Hakan Calhanoglu in the first half. The Italians finished with an xG of just 0.46, while Liverpool recorded a 1.23. The centre-back pair of Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate dominated the Italian side’s attacking players, holding striker Edin Dzeko to nothing while only allowing Lautaro Martinez to touch the ball 16 times in 70 minutes.

“Intense. I think we both took a lot of risk in the pressing,” Van Dijk, the man of the match, told CBS Sports after the game.

“It’s about the hard fight, the battle. When you have the ball, be brave, make the right decisions and keep it tight at your back, and we did that. [A] clean sheet is very important outside in this atmosphere.

“We’re just very happy with the result. It was difficult, we suffered, but it’s something we expected too.”

Here is an overview of our players’ ratings for this contest:

Internotes

(GK) Samir Handanović

90

He only faced two shots on goal, and he let them both in. But neither was really his fault as the defender let him down. A restless night.

5

(DEF) Milan Skriniar

90

Inter’s best defender. He had some good times at both ends of the pitch and he hit 75% of his tackles. Also won 92.3% of his duels and 100% in the air. It would have been worse without him.

8

(DEF) Stefan de Vrij

87

Cleared the ball well and was also strong in the air. Did what he needed to do for most of the game. I can’t ask for much more.

6

(DEF) Alessandro Bastoni

89

Not his best night. In his greatest moment, he failed to deliver, leaving Roberto Firmino to score the winner with his header. His marking wasn’t that bad, but he lost it for a split second, and that was the difference.

4

(MID) Denzel Dumfries

87

I created a chance, but it wasn’t a very good one. Finished with an expected assist total of just 0.01. Had a decent shot, but couldn’t break free of much of that Liverpool defense to cause damage.

4

(MID) Arturo Vidal

87

The Chilean was solid defensively, registering a team-high seven tackles. He showed physicality and aggression and that put Liverpool off several times. But with the ball he was not sharp, wasting opportunities to put quality balls forward.

6

(MID) Marcelo Brozovic

90

Went well everywhere except in the last third. Nobody attempted more passes for Inter than his 57. Never managed to create anything with long passes and was essentially neutralized. He’ll be frustrated that his buildup didn’t amount to much.

5

(MID) Hakan Calhanoglu

90

The most dangerous creator on this team. He set up three chances and was dangerous from set pieces, especially from corners. Completed 91.3% of his passes and all passes in the final third.

7

(MID) Ivan Perisic

90

Had a few moments on the left and almost put a goal in Lautaro Martinez, but he put too many behind the cross. He never looked like a goal threat himself, but he had his chances to create by widening play. Passing wasn’t good enough to capitalize on though.

5

(AV) Lautaro Martinez

70

He got 16 touches in 70 minutes, so that’s all you need to know. A shot and a 0.04 xG, he now has 0.04 xG in his last 153 minutes after registering 0.0 against Napoli last weekend. A bad pass for the Argentinian. Too often, he was looking to shoot a foul and not build muscle through contact.

4

(AV) Edin Dzeko

90

Two shots but neither was good. He also only completed 52% of his 25 passes, which is shocking. He was right next to it. His most memorable pass went straight to Trent Alexander-Arnold.

3

Alexis Sanchez

Martinez (70′)

Nine touches in 20 minutes of play, without creating anything.

4

Roberto Gagliardini

Vidal (87′)

Played three minutes and registered a tackle, while winning both of his duels.

6

Matteo Darmian

Dumfries (87′)

A late sub that never got involved.

N / A

Andrea Ranocchia by Vrij (87′) Late substitute who recorded an interception. N / A
Federico Dimarco Bastoni (87′) A time-wasting sub with this one already finished. N / A

Simone Inzaghi

5

He waited too long to make the changes he needed to make. Then he made four, in the 87th minute. If you can’t take them with you… They seemed to have done enough to score a point, but in the end they found themselves on the verge of elimination. They haven’t created anything and need to tackle the ball more than they did to have a chance.

4

Liverpool ratings

(GK) Alisson

90

A slightly cavalier backpass put pressure on Liverpool’s final third, but that was offset by a clever sweep when Inter looked to slip Dzeko and Martinez behind.

5

(DEF) Trent Alexander-Arnold

90

His defensive chops were relentlessly analyzed by the dangerous Perisic. Granted, there have been times when you’ve been reminded that Alexander-Arnold isn’t in this team for what he does off the ball but he’s never been consistently beaten. Going forward he was also a mixed bag, clever through balanced balls against times when he squandered possession with unlikely long shots

5

(DEF) Ibrahima Konate

90

Favored over Joel Matip, Konaté vindicated Klopp’s faith with a series of crucial interventions, nothing more than his diving license to keep a Dumfries cross from Dzeko. Although he is solid in possession of the ball, it is with his back to the wall that the Frenchman excels.

7

(DEF) Virgil van Dijk

90

His performance was all the more remarkable as he barely seemed to be sweating, covering space at an admittedly slow Dzeko as if he was already 10 yards ahead. He was the main reason why Inter’s considerable pressure on Liverpool rarely translated into goal threats.

9

(DEF)Andrew Robertson

90

Klopp didn’t seem impressed with Robertson early on and for a good cause. For once, the left-back’s passing radar seemed all lost in open play and dead balls.

4

(MID) Fabinho

60

In the pitched battle in midfield, Fabinho never lost his head and was invariably the man to pick up the scraps or fill in the gaps that Interl were looking to burst into. By the time he was retired on time, no one could come close to his 11 ball recoveries.

7

(MID) Thiago

86

His legs struggled to last the entirety of this contest, with players like Calhanoglu and Brozovic finding plenty of space away from Thiago as the game wore on. There were the usual bubbly passes to get Liverpool forward downfield and a great late interception to keep the ball from Dzeko

6

(ME) Harvey Elliott

60

Liverpool’s youngest player in a Champions League knockout tie, there were times when the pressure seemed to get to the 18-year-old, who finished the game with a relatively indifferent 75% success rate . Likewise, there were moments of craftsmanship and composure that suggest more experience will make for a very effective player in these games.

4

(MID) Mohamed Salah

90

It certainly wasn’t Salah’s best game in a Liverpool shirt, but it did nothing to shake the feeling of inevitability every time the ball was at his feet in the final third. He gave Bastoni all sorts of difficulties and took the only chance that came his way in a remarkable way.

7

(AV) Diogo Jota

45

Jota constantly dropped deep to win the ball back, looking to face his man, beat him and slip into a wide attacker. At first it looked like he would find space to test Handanovic, but as the half wore on he struggled to place his passes in the right place, perhaps prompting Klopp to bring in Roberto Firmino at its place.

5

(AV) Sadio Mané

59

He should have at least tested Handanovic with an early free-kick header. That aside, Mane struggled to make anything like the impact on this game that came from the man who replaced him.

4

Roberto Firmino

Jota (46′)

At first, Firmino did little to suggest Klopp was wrong to leave him on the bench, struggling to really impact the game. But then this anti-No.9, who does so little of what a traditional striker does, delivered the most magnificent of headers from a centre-forward to put his side in charge in this encounter.

7

Jordan Henderson

Elliott (60′)

That the pressure on Liverpool’s goal eased almost immediately when the club captain was introduced reflects how reassuring his presence is in the team. He barely gave the ball away in half an hour without a blemish.

6

Naby Keita

Fabinho (60′)

An equally solid addition, Keita wasn’t as dynamic as it gets, but that’s what Liverpool needed. He looked like a stable veteran.

6

Luis Diaz Mane (60′) Liverpool’s attack came to life as Diaz entered the game. He was always spinning in space, demanding passes and then looking to attack the goal. He looks totally fearless and forward-thinking, a perfect Klopp striker 6
James Milner Thiago (85′) His late cameo may only be notable because it was the 800th appearance of a notable career, but it certainly deserves recognition. 5

Jurgen Klopp

5

The right substitutions at the right times led Liverpool to the ideal away result in the Champions League. He identified a problem in Liverpool’s midfield and on his left flank around the hour mark; he fixed it

7

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