Striking early crucial to Inter’s chances against Liverpool – Inzaghi

LIVERPOOL, England : Inter Milan must score early to stand any hope of toppling Liverpool in Tuesday's Champions League last-16 second leg, coach Simone Inzaghi said on Monday.

Liverpool won the first leg in Milan 2-0 after using their experienced substitutes' bench to their advantage following a strong start from Inter, who made it to the knockout stage of the competition for the first time in a decade.

"It is important and essential to score a goal in the first half. It will be a difficult game tomorrow, but we are highly motivated," Inzaghi told a news conference.

"Inter haven't reached this stage of the competition for many years, and we knew that we would be facing a top team, having finished second in the group. We did our best in the first leg and we'll do the same tomorrow."

The defeat by Liverpool started a four-game scoring drought for the Serie A champions but they ended that run in emphatic fashion, thrashing basement club Salernitana 5-0 on Friday with a hat-trick from Lautaro Martinez and an Edin Dzeko brace.

Inzaghi hailed Liverpool as being among the top three teams in the world and conceded the match would be even harder than at the San Siro. But he urged his side to use the occasion as an opportunity to develop as a team.

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"We are up against the strongest team in Europe along with Bayern Munich and Manchester City," he said.

"It will be a scorching atmosphere and it will be again more difficult than in San Siro match. But these are those matches that make everyone grow."

The coach confirmed that Ivan Perisic was fit to play after two weeks out and said that the suspended Nicolo Barella was the only absentee.

(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

Artmotion Asia

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