24 min: Sanchez robs a dozing Fabinho again. Fabinho is really off the pace here. He looks slightly shocked at the intense pressing by the visitors.
22 min: The referee awards a couple of fairly soft free kicks to Inter, both against Fabinho. The crowd get irate. Some ironic cheers, then, when Martinez flips Fabinho to the floor and concedes a free kick himself. Meanwhile Alexander-Arnold does well to step in and shepherd a pass down the inside-left channel back to Alisson with Martinez hoping to break clear.
20 min: Inter have certainly unsettled Liverpool. Van Dijk looks uncharacteristically skittish, Sanchez and Perisic refusing to give him a second. Alisson slips while clearing Van Dijk’s slightly undercooked backpass. The anxiety is spreading.
18 min: Sanchez robs Fabinho on the halfway line and skedaddles down the middle. He’s this close to releasing Perisic with a threaded pass down the inside-left channel. A deflection takes the ball away from the dangerous Inter winger and Liverpool can clear.
16 min: Jota wins a corner down the right. Trent takes. Van Dijk wins a header, but he’s almost on the edge of the box, and can’t generate enough power to worry Handanovic, who claims calmly.
15 min: Sanchez is buzzing around at 101 miles per hour. He’s causing the Liverpool back four some anxiety … and the home crowd are in lockstep with their heroes. Inter have been the better team during these early exchanges.
14 min: Sanchez slams the ball into the net, but it’s a futile gesture, the flag having long gone up for offside.
12 min: Inter have managed to complete their first task with this impressive start: they’ve quietened Anfield on a European night.
10 min: Perisic was a thorn in Liverpool’s side at San Siro, and he looks in the mood again. He tears off down the left flank and whips in another cross. Easy pickings this time for Alisson, but it’s going to be a long evening for Alexander-Arnold by the looks of it.
9 min: Mane and Robertson combine cutely down the left, the latter winning Liverpool’s first corner of the evening on the overlap. Robertson takes himself and sends it deep. Vidal does well to clear with Mane shaping to shoot.
7 min: Calhanoglu strides down the middle with Martinez and Sanchez either side. The chance to send either players clear is spurned, as he clanks straight through to Alisson.
6 min: Perisic strides off down the left and dinks infield, hoping to find Martinez. Robertson eyebrows away from danger, just in time as well, because Martinez was shaping to volley home, eight yards out. This is a statement start by Inter, who are first to most things at the moment.
4 min: Skriniar curls in from the right. Matip clears with Martinez lurking. Then a speculative ball down the left nearly finds Vidal, but Alisson comes out to smother. A decent start by Inter, who really do need to score first.
3 min: Salah turns on the jets to blast past Bastoni on the right. He enters the box but runs into Brozovic, who slams the door shut.
2 min: A relatively scrappy start, and a couple of loose passes by Thiago, who missed the last three matches and may need to shake off a little rust. The visiting Inter fans are giving it plenty.
Inter get the ball rolling … but only after Liverpool take a knee. There’s no room for racism. A few boos reflecting Inter’s decision not to kneel.
The teams are out! Anfield roars in its trademark European style as Liverpool and Inter take to the field of play. Liverpool in red, Inter in black livened by that blockchain of colours. We’ll be off once Uefa have done a number on Zadok the Priest … and the teams have mingled to pose for a photo in a show of solidarity with Ukraine.
Jurgen Klopp speaks to BT Sport about Liverpool’s good run and the prospect of another of those European nights at Anfield. “Confidence is like a little flower. Somebody stamps on it and you lose it in a second, and it takes ages to get it back. So you’d better deal with it properly. The boys know they are good, but the opponents are confident too, they smashed their opponents pretty impressively, and have high quality as well. Who wants it more? I’m really happy we play here. It doesn’t mean we have won it already, but it will help us and we can use it a lot. I couldn’t care less how they played their last games; they played us and they were really good. It was not a 2-0, it looked for a long time like a proper 0-0 and we would have been fine with that! We had to defend them with all they had, and we have to be ready tonight. We have to work hard.”
A reminder of how both teams got here. Liverpool won all of their games in Group B …
… while Inter had a more eventful time in Group D. The Nerazzurri took only one point from their first two games, losing 1-0 at home to Real Madrid in the first round of matches, but two 3-1 wins against Sheriff of Moldova, followed by a 2-0 victory at home to Shakhtar Donetsk, were enough to progress. A final 2-0 loss in Madrid consigned them to second place.
Pennant watch. Samir Handanovič will present his opposite number Virgil van Dijk, standing in for the benched Jordan Henderson, with this classy bit of design …
… and the shirts the rest of the team will be wearing aren’t half bad either. Hard to work out which decade has influenced this beauty the most. The 1970s? 1980s? 1990s? 1930s? It could be any or all, couldn’t it.
Liverpool make two changes to the XI selected for the first leg at San Siro. Curtis Jones takes the midfield place of Harvey Elliott, while Joel Matip replaces Ibrahima Konate, who missed training yesterday with an unspecified problem and isn’t in the squad. Thiago Alcantara returns from the thigh problem that cost him his place in the League Cup final.
Inter make just one change from the starting team named for the first match. Alexis Sanchez takes the place of Edin Dzeko.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson, Jones, Fabinho, Thiago, Salah, Jota, Mane.
Subs: Milner, Keita, Gomez, Adrian, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino, Tsimikas, Diaz, Origi, Kelleher, Elliott.
Internazionale: Handanovic, Skriniar, de Vrij, Bastoni, Dumfries, Vidal, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Perisic, Martinez, Sanchez.
Subs: Gagliardini, Vecino, Dzeko, Ranocchia, Gosens, Correa, Cordaz, Dimarco, D’Ambrosio, Darmian, Caicedo, Radu.
Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz (Spain).
Preamble (agg: 2-0 after first leg)
The first leg of this was a slightly strange affair. Internazaionale outplayed Liverpool at San Siro for the best part of an hour, only for Jurgen Klopp to make a double change that titled the balance. Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah scored late, and that was seven wins out of seven for Klopp’s in-form side in the Champions League.
Liverpool have won 11 of their last 12 matches in all competitions, and the other one was a draw that led to a penalty shoot-out and their first silverware of the season. Yep, they’re in form all right, albeit fortunate to defeat West Ham last weekend at Anfield. Inter by contrast have won only one of the four matches they’ve played since the first leg, though that was a 5-0 rout of Salernitana last Friday. Until Lautaro Martínez’s 22nd-minute opener, Inter had gone 425 minutes without a goal in all competitions. He went on to score a hat-trick.
Liverpool have won all 34 European ties in which they won the first leg away from home. Inter, the champions of Italy and perfectly capable of giving them a match, will observe that records are there to be broken. Away goals may not count double any more, but the first one scored tonight will carry plenty of weight. Kick off is at 8pm GMT. It’s on!