After a two month break from European play, Liverpool return to Champions League action on Wednesday evening as Jürgen Klopp’s Reds travel to Italy to take on Inter Milan in what looks set to be of the Round of 16’s headlining ties.
The Liverpool manager is expecting a tough challenge from a side he counts as the best in Serie A—and believes dominating possession and forcing their opponents into a compact defensive shape it will give Liverpool their best shot at victory.
“If we are dominant then Inter will defend pretty compact,” Klopp noted of his side’s goal heading into the game. “Apart from that, Inter is an absolute top, top, top-class team. Top-class players, top-class manager, were champions last year.
“With all respect to the other teams, I think it’s probably the best team this year again in Italy, you can see it in the table at the moment. They look really rock-solid, they have creativity on the pitch, they are very well organised.”
After the latest round of games in Italy, local rivals AC Milan—who Liverpool dispatched easily in two group stage games—have pushed past Inter into first place, but the Reds’ upcoming opponents retain a game in hand.
They also have Serie A’s best attack and best goal differential, making for opponents who will be expected to at least try to take the game to Liverpool and against whom stopping them from creating by dominating possession could be key.
“The individual quality is big,” Klopp added of the matchup challenges his side will face. “So that’s Champions League, no doubt about that. That is a top-class team and we need to show a top-class performance to even have a chance.”