Liverpool expected pressure from Italian champions in Champions League tie, Van Dijk says

Liverpool left it late to run out 2-0 victors in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League tie against Italian champions Internazionale.

In a blistering 10 minutes towards the end of the fixture, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah scored two goals to set up a tense tie for the Italian champions at Anfield next Tuesday.

Defender Virgil Van Dijk was immense in the game alongside Ibrahima Konate. He noted that the pressure from Inter Milan was expected but was grateful to be able to keep a clean sheet.

The tie was well-balanced for most of the game. Both sides applied pressure on the other from the early stages of the match, however, Liverpool came the closest to breaking the deadlock on several occasions.

Bobby Firmino broke the deadlock after glancing in a header from Andrew Robertson’s corner kick in the 73rd minute of the game. The substitute rose highest to beat Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic at his far post.

In the 83rd minute, another corner kick resulted in confusion in the Inter box and the ball landed sweetly for Salah who struck a fine shot to beat Handanovic.

Those two goals were Liverpool’s only shots on target in the game while Inter Milan finished the game without any shots on target.

Inter coach Simone Inzaghi will feel hard done after his side managed to stave off pressure from the rampaging Reds at the San Siro for most of the game.

However, he is going to have his work cut out for him as he travels to Anfield next Tuesday with the hopes of turning the result on its head to help Inter progress past the round of 16 for the first time in almost a decade.

Van Dijk: The San Siro is a tough ground to visit

Va Dijk told BT Sport after the game: “It’s a tough place to come, of course. They are a very good team, consistent and difficult to break down.

“The atmosphere was incredible, I really enjoyed it out there. And obviously it was very important with the set-pieces in the end again – that’s obviously a very good strength of ours and hopefully we can keep on using this.

“I think it was a very solid performance and a good result to take back home.

“Everyone expected to be under pressure because they are a very good team and it’s the Champions League. I think also one of the messages before the game was ‘you need to be ready to suffer, you need to be ready to do the hard work’ and we definitely did.

“It’s a very, very good performance, a clean sheet and well, happy days.”

Jurgen Klopp: Win over Inter only half-time

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was excited to have come away with a win from the San Siro to set up a very interesting tie at Anfield next week.

Klopp surprised everyone with his starting XI, giving Harvey Elliott his European debut and his first start since his injury in September.

As a result, Elliott became the youngest player ever to start a Champions League game for Liverpool. At 18 years and 318 days, the young midfielder has become a staple in the Liverpool side and looks to be a part of the Reds’ future.

Klopp said after the game: “It’s half-time, nothing else. It will be a tricky one and we have to be ready for that. They played good, they played differently, but they are really good and that’s why it is half-time, 2-0.

“If it is a proper half-time, Like today, if it was 2-0 at half-time I don’t tell my boys ‘Job done, put your legs on the table’. It is a tricky result so why should we think about it now.

“It was an incredibly physical game so we had to find a way… We didn’t have a brilliant day but a good enough day to be deserved winners because we scored two wonderful goals. They had their moments, but mainly counter-attacks when we lost the ball in the wrong spaces.”






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