Liverpool through despite Inter loss | Salah: ‘Maybe we were overconfident’

Liverpool are through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a 2-1 aggregate win despite being beaten 1-0 on the night by 10-man Inter at Anfield.

Lautaro Martinez’s stunning strike just after the hour offered hope for the Italian champions but Alexis Sanchez was sent off moments later and Liverpool held on to progress.

The result ends an unbeaten run that extends back to last year for Jurgen Klopp’s side but they will not be too concerned by that – the hard work done in the San Siro proved decisive.

Player ratings

Liverpool: Alisson (6), Alexander-Arnold (7), Matip (7), Van Dijk (7), Robertson (7), Fabinho (7), Thiago (7), Jones (7), Mane (7), Jota (6), Salah (6).

Subs: Henderson (6), Keita (6), Diaz (6).

Internazionale: Handanovic (6), Skriniar (8), De Vrij (7), Bastoni (7), Dumfries (7), Vidal (8), Brozovic (8), Calhanoglu (7), Perisic (7), Martinez (7), Sanchez (4).

Subs: D’Ambrosio (6), Correa (6), Darmian (6), Gagliardini (6), Vecino (6).

Man of the match: Arturo Vidal

Simone Inzaghi’s Inter had been competitive in that first leg, conceding from Liverpool’s only two shots on target, and they produced another spirited performance here.

But it was Liverpool who came closest to scoring before Martinez’s goal with Joel Matip heading the ball against the crossbar and Mohamed Salah striking the foot of the post.

With that two-goal lead from the first leg, there was no need for Liverpool to force the game at Anfield and, with their offside trap keeping Inter at bay, it seemed comfortable enough.

Team news

Jurgen Klopp made four changes to the team that beat West Ham but only two to the side that won the first leg in the San Siro. Joel Matip came in to partner Ibrahima Konate, while Curtis Jones got the nod alongside Fabinho and Thiago in midfield.

Inter had a comfortable preparation with a 5-0 win over bottom club Salernitana at the weekend but it was back to something like their strongest line-up with just one change from the first leg as Alexis Sanchez came in up front in place of Edin Dzeko.

Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez celebrates after scoring (AP)
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Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez celebrates after scoring at Anfield

That changed when Martinez beat Alisson from distance and suddenly there were nerves among the home crowd. Sanchez’s second yellow card soon switched the momentum.

The former Manchester United and Arsenal forward had been fortunate to only receive a yellow card for drawing blood from Thiago with his studs in the first half.

The foul on Fabinho that saw him sent from the field was not quite so bad – he caught the Brazilian on the follow-through after winning the ball – but the Liverpool boss was clear that it was the only decision the referee could make.

“If you can’t get the ball without endangering an opponent then it’s a foul,” said Klopp. “And he caught him badly. He was lucky not to get red for the foul on Thiago in the first half.”

There were no further scares for Liverpool in the final quarter of the game as they began to dominate a tiring Inter team with Salah somehow hitting the post for a second time.

Luis Diaz was also denied in stoppage time, but it was frustrating rather than decisive.

“These days can happen,” said Klopp afterwards. “We just need to be better next time.”

Thankfully for Liverpool, there will be a next time. Their Champions League adventure continues.

Liverpool's Sadio Mane is challenged by Inter's Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez (AP)
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Liverpool endured an awkward night against Inter at Anfield

Sanchez’s red proves costly

Liverpool were fortunate that Sanchez decided to dive in just when the away fans were believing that a remarkable comeback was possible. The hope for Inter ended there.

The Chilean had been a slightly surprising inclusion ahead of Edin Dzeko but the logic looked sound for much of the first half with his movement testing the Liverpool backline.

But the foul on Thiago was a wretched one with a yellow card the least he deserved for the offence and that really should have had Sanchez – and his coach – on red alert.

Instead, he caught Fabinho and what followed was inevitable, much to the delight of the home fans. Matches hinge on moments and this one swung the tie back towards Liverpool.

Liverpool’s surprise defeat

Liverpool suffered their first home defeat in 29 matches across all competitions since losing to Fulham over a year ago in March 2021

Were Liverpool overconfident?

“Maybe at the back of our mind we felt overconfident at the moment,” Salah told BT Sport when asked about the reasons for the reversal after such a good run of results.

“We lose a game. Maybe that will give us a little bit of a push,” said Salah.

If that is the case then, in a slightly curious way, perhaps this was the perfect scenario for Klopp because it serves as a useful reminder to his team without halting their progress.

“If there is a game we can lose then this was the one,” added Klopp. “Clearly, I’m not over the moon, but we are through and deserve to be.”

When is the Champions League draw?

The Champions League quarter-final draw will take place on Friday, March 18 at 11am UK time, with the balls being drawn out at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. The semi-finals will be drawn at the same time, meaning clubs and fans can plot out their potential route to the Paris final.

You will be able to follow the draw across Sky Sports’ digital platforms.

What’s next for Liverpool?

Liverpool return to Premier League action on Saturday when they travel to Brighton; kick-off 12.30pm. Jurgen Klopp’s side can close the gap on leaders Manchester City to three points before the champions face Crystal Palace on Monday Night Football, live on Sky Sports.

Klopp: Sanchez lucky to be on pitch by time of red card

Jurgen Klopp said Alexis Sanchez was lucky to be on the pitch when he received his second-half red card as Liverpool saw off Inter to progress in the Champions League.

Sanchez was shown a second yellow card by referee Mateu Lahoz for catching Fabinho with his follow-through moments after Lautaro Martinez had fired Inter back into the last-16 tie with a thunderbolt effort to reduce the Serie A side’s deficit to 2-1 on aggregate at Anfield.

The Chilean was incensed by the decision and refused to leave the field for several moments and Inter coach Massimiliano Farris was sent off during the ensuing aggravation, but Klopp said Sanchez was lucky to be on the pitch at all by the time of his dismissal – having earlier only seen yellow for a knee-high challenge on Thiago Alcantara.

He said: “I don’t understand why we have to discuss the red card. If you can win the ball only, if you endanger an opponent when you do it, then you don’t win the ball. If Fabinho goes in with the same intention, with the leg out, then both players get injured.

“I think he was lucky he hadn’t got a red card in the first half, going in so high on Thiago onto his knee. Passion is good, absolutely good, but if it leads to these kind of things then it doesn’t help.”

ALEXIS SANCHEZ
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Alexis Sanchez was sent off for a second bookable offence two minutes after Lautaro Martinez had given Inter Milan hope at Liverpool

The defeat ended Liverpool’s run of 12 consecutive wins and although Klopp admitted he was unhappy to see the streak come to an end, he was in philosophical mood as he mused on where the Reds can afford to be beaten.

In spite of the result, the German felt the scoreline could easily have been different had his side taken a proportion of their clear-cut chances, with Joel Matip denied by the woodwork and Mo Salah also hitting both posts.

“The art of football is to lose the right games – I still hate it, but if there was any game to lose, it was tonight because the main target is to go through and we’ve done that,” he said.

“It’s not that I’m over the moon, I’m happy we went through because when we saw the draw, we thought it was a tough one, and we deserved it over the two legs.

Liverpool's Joel Matip sees his header hit the bar
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Joel Matip’s header was the first of three times Liverpool struck the woodwork against Inter Milan

“We had some difficulties, one of those is the quality of the opponent, they are a really good team. But we still had our chances, and didn’t score. I didn’t like our counter-press, when we lost the ball we had to chase the situation and that was not exactly how I wanted it.

“But in the end, you have to respect the quality of the opponent. And had we used our chances we still could have won the game.”

Salah: Maybe we were overconfident

Jurgen Klopp remonstrates with the official during Liverpool's 1-0 defeat to Inter Milan
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Jurgen Klopp remonstrates with the official during Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat to Inter Milan

Mo Salah suggested Liverpool may have been complacent going into the second leg of the last-16 tie, having secured a 2-0 lead in the first leg at the San Siro, and said his side would learn from their first defeat since December to bounce back in the title race.

He told BT Sport: “We lost a game that has maybe given us a bit more of a push. Maybe in the back of our mind, we were overconfident, it’s a good game to take that in, learn from and carry on.

“It’s always important to win, but sometimes like tonight, we hit the post three times, missed a lot of chances, but it can happen. But it’s not in the league, and we have qualified.

“We struggled from the beginning, but the most important thing is that we qualified. I hit the post twice, but it’s one of those things. Maybe in the next game, I can score three goals.

“I don’t mind so much with the team qualifying, and that’s the most important thing.”

Inzaghi more upset about home defeat than Sanchez red

Alexis Sanchez was shown a red card only two minutes after Lautaro Martinez had fired Inter Milan back into the last-16 tie
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Alexis Sanchez was shown a red card only two minutes after Lautaro Martinez had fired Inter Milan back into the last-16 tie

Inter Milan boss Simone Inzaghi repeatedly ignored questions about the legitimacy of Sanchez’s red card and instead focused on what he felt was an unjust first-leg defeat at the San Siro which led to his side’s elimination from this season’s Champions League.

He said: “We were very bitter about what happened at the San Siro; over the two games we were the equals of a really strong team in Liverpool.

“We knocked them back when we scored our goal, but then Sanchez got sent off and we saw what happened.

“We’ve got to this stage for the first time in about 11 years, we played against possibly the best team in Europe and were their equals. We put in two very good performances, and sometimes it just takes a single episode to take the course of a game.

“This evening we played well, in the second half we began to get the upper hand, scored a goal and then Sanchez was sent off. I’m more bitter about what happened in the San Siro than tonight.

“We feel upset about having a player sent off just when we were getting the upper hand in the game.”

When is the Champions League quarter-final draw?

The UEFA Champions League trophy on display in the ground during a training session ahead of the UEFA Champions League final, at the Estadio do Dragao, Portugal. Picture date: Friday May 28, 2021.
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The draw for the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the Champions League take place on March 18

The Champions League quarter-final draw will take place on Friday, March 18 at 11am UK time, with the balls being drawn out at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

The semi-finals will be drawn at the same time, meaning clubs and fans can plot out their potential route to the Paris final.

Europe: Abraham scores 99th-minute winner for Jose’s Roma

Tammy Abraham’s penalty more than nine minutes into stoppage time ended Roma’s winless run as Jose Mourinho’s scraped a 1-0 victory at 10-man Spezia in Serie A.

Abraham’s penalty came after Roma had hit the woodwork four times and wasted a number of chances at Spezia, who had played most of the match with 10 men after defender Kelvin Amian was sent off at the end of the first half.

It was Roma’s first win in five matches and lifted them up to sixth, six points behind fourth-place Juventus. Spezia remain four points off the relegation zone. All Serie A matches have started five minutes late this weekend accompanied by a peace message following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Roma coach Jose Mourinho was serving the first of a two-match suspension following his actions toward the referee during and after last week’s 2-2 draw against Hellas Verona.

Giovanni Simeone broke his goal drought in style with a second-half hat-trick to help Hellas Verona beat relegation-threatened Venezia 3-1.

They were Simeone’s first goals since mid-December.

David Okereke headed Venezia back into the match nine minutes from time but Simeone completed his hat-trick and sealed the result seven minutes later.

Venezia slipped into the drop zone, three points behind Cagliari after the Sardinian side won 2-1 at Torino.

Bundesliga: Dortmund lose ground on leaders Bayern

Noah Sarenren Bazee's goal moved Augsburg above Hertha Berlin on goal difference
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Noah Sarenren Bazee’s goal moved Augsburg above Hertha Berlin on goal difference

Borussia Dortmund stumbled again in the Bundesliga with a 1-1 draw at relegation-threatened Augsburg to let Bayern Munich open up an eight-point lead.

Thorgan Hazard scored in the first half for Dortmund but the visitors failed to build on their lead as Donyell Malen hit the post and were caught out when Noah Sarenren Bazee equalised late on.

The point lifted Augsburg out of the relegation zone on goal difference with Hertha Berlin dropping into the relegation/playoff place with 10 rounds of the league remaining. Hertha have not won in the league since beating Dortmund 3-2 at home on December 18.

Dortmund subsequently lost to Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen in the league, while they were knocked out of the German Cup by second division St Pauli and out of the Europa League last Thursday by Scottish side Rangers.

Hazard scored in the 35th minute when he surged past Augsburg defenders Mads Pedersen and Felix Uduokhai before shooting inside the far post from a tight angle.

But Augsburg stayed in the game and coach Markus Weinzierl brought on Bazee to reinvigorate his team’s attack with 20 minutes remaining. The 25-year-old winger scored the equaliser eight minutes later.

Earlier, Christopher Nkunku’s late goal was enough for Leipzig to reclaim fourth and the last qualification place for the Champions League with a 1-0 win at Bochum.

Nkunku scored in the 82nd minute after Bochum captain Anthony Losilla hit the crossbar and Christopher Antwi-Adjei hit the post for the home team. It was Nkunku’s 14th goal of the season.

La Liga: Villarreal teen makes club history

Yeremy Pino's four goals wrote him into Villarreal history books
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Yeremy Pino’s four goals wrote him into Villarreal history books

With four goals from four shots, Yeremy Pino became the first Villarreal player to score four times in a Spanish league game on Sunday.

Pino scored a hat-trick before half-time and added another goal in the second half of Villarreal’s 5-1 home rout of Espanyol.

The 19-year-old Spain forward had never scored more than one goal in a game in his career. He is the third-youngest four-goal scorer in the history of the Spanish league.

It was the eighth win for Villarreal in their last 11 league games, with the only loss coming at Elche in January.

Unai Emery’s team came into the game on the back of a 1-1 draw at home to Juventus in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League.

Keidi Bare scored Espanyol’s lone goal in the second half. Villarreal’s fifth was scored by Boulaye Dia in the final stages of the game at the La Ceramica Stadium.

The win moved Villarreal up to fifth place, three points behind fourth-place Atletico Madrid, who won 2-0 at Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Espanyol’s winless streak reached eight matches in all competitions, with five losses and three draws. They stayed in 14th place.

Ligue 1: Marseille fail to tighten grip in Champions League race

Yoann Touzghar fired in his fourth Ligue 1 goal of the campaign
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Yoann Touzghar fired in his fourth Ligue 1 goal of the campaign

Marseille missed the chance to move three points clear in second place in Ligue 1 after conceding a last-minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw at struggling Troyes.

Striker Yoann Touzghar profited from poor Marseille defending to slide in the equaliser after playmaker Dimitri Payet’s penalty put Marseille ahead in the 28th minute. It was Payet’s club-best ninth league goal of the season.

Second place guarantees entry into next season’s Champions League, with Marseille one point ahead of Nice in third place, and a playoff spot.

Northern side Lens moved into sixth place in the chase for the European places after a 2-1 win at Angers, with Jonathan Clauss’ floating effort looping over goalkeeper Danijel Petkovic in the 77th minute.

Lens are three points behind fourth-place Rennes in the Europa League spot.

Monaco lost 2-1 at home to Reims, despite striker Wissam Ben Yedder’s league-leading 15th goal to move one ahead of PSG forward Kylian Mbappe.

The visitors equalised in the 84th minute when Monaco striker Kevin Volland headed in an own-goal and, soon after Monaco midfielder Jean Lucas was sent off, scored a stoppage-time winner through striker Nathanael Mbuku.

Lorient moved out of the relegation zone with a 1-0 win at Brest as fellow strugglers Bordeaux and Metz both drew.

Bottom side Bordeaux drew 1-1 at Clermont, while 18th-place Metz were held 0-0 at home by Nantes.

Euro: Serie A leaders AC Milan held; Inter frustrated by Genoa

Leaders AC Milan and defending champions Inter Milan were held to draws by opponents in the lower half of the Serie A table on Friday.

Serie A: Both Milan clubs held to frustrating draws

Italy U21 left-back Destiny Udogie equalised with his first Italian league goal as Udinese secured a 1-1 draw at Milan less than a week after the Rossoneri were held to a 2-2 draw at bottom club Salernitana.

Milan remained two points ahead of Inter, who were held to a 0-0 draw by relegation-threatened Genoa, to extend their winless streak to four matches.

The two Milan clubs meet in an Italian Cup derby on Tuesday.

The most Inter could produce was a header off the crossbar midway through the second half from full-back Danilo D’Ambrosio.

At the San Siro, Rafael Leao put Milan ahead from a tight angle after taking a cross from Sandro Tonali near the half-hour mark.

Then Udogie finished from close range in the 66th-minute following a long throw-in and an overhead effort from Roberto Pereyra. Milan protested that Udogie’s goal should have been disallowed for a handball, but a VAR review confirmed the goal.

Udinese move up to 14th place while Genoa remain second-bottom.

All Serie A matches are starting five minutes late this weekend accompanied by a peace message following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Bundesliga: Hoffenheim sink Stuttgart to climb to fourth

In the Bundesliga, Hoffenheim scored twice inside the final five minutes to beat struggling Stuttgart 2-1 at the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena.

Wataru Endo had struck from close-range to give Pellegrino Matarazzo’s side – who have not won a league game since December 11 – the lead shortly before the hour mark.

But Christoph Baumgartner, levelled with 85 minutes on the clock and then added a second within five minutes to turn the game in favour of Die Kraichgauer, who are now just a point behind third-placed Bayer Leverkusen.

Ligue 1: Rennes triumph in six-goal thriller

In France, Rennes came out on top in a six-goal thriller against Montpellier at Stade de la Mosson to move up to fourth.

Martin Terrier and Benjamin Bourigeaud fired the visitors 2-0 ahead inside 15 minutes, but Ambroise Oyongo and Elye Wahi then pulled two back to make it 2-2 at the break.

But Rennes turned the screw after half time and sealed a 4-2 win thanks to a penalty from Gaetan Laborde and Lovro Majer.