Martínez cracker gives Liverpool the hope!!

Liverpool had never failed to progress in 34 previous European ties in which they had won the first leg away from home.

It seemed like an impossible task for Internazionale.

Liverpool sought to confirm their position in the Champions League quarter-finals by bringing their all-conquering form into the match.

Inter had a shaky start.

The Italian champions, on the other hand, had a plan to move the ball effectively,

and when Lautaro Martnez fired a firework into the far top corner from outside the area after an hour

– beating Alisson from the moment of discharge – they sensed something more.

Although they had struggled to unlock Inter in open play,

Liverpool had hit the post via Jol Matip and Mohamed Salah. They were about to be put to the test.

They passed it,

much to their surprise and relief.

The work was made simpler when Alexis Sánchez was sent off for a second bookable offence practically immediately after the score.

The former Arsenal and Manchester United striker had no complaints about receiving his first caution at the end of the first half;

he was late and reckless when he collided with Thiago, raking his studs down his opponent’s lower thigh.


As the passions soared after Martnez’s strike, Sánchez stretched for the ball and touched it, a moment he will want to relive.

But he caught Fabinho with the follow-through, and it added up to him being out of control,

even if it appeared over-exuberant rather than deliberate.

Inter reacted angrily,

with assistant manager Massimiliano Farris being sent off for going too far with his complaints

,but the visitors still had a puncher’s chance even with ten men.

Liverpool, on the other hand, saw the game out and, in the end, did so with relative ease.

Although the possibility existed for something outlandish from Inter,

they did not come close again.

The Liverpool defence had generally got feet in, they had won the one-on-ones – the Martínez goal not withstanding. And, in the closing stages,

as tempers threatened to boil over, it was they who were the likelier scorers.

Salah hit the upright again and the substitute Luis Díaz was denied by a remarkable saving block by Arturo Vidal in stoppage time after a cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Salah and Liverpool would not score,

and it would be their first home defeat since a Premier League defeat to Fulham just over a year ago.
Salah would mutter something about overconfidence, implying that there were lessons to be learnt.

Liverpool had won all seven of their previous Champions League matches this season,

and they came into the match with a record of 13 victories and one draw in all competitions

– the 0-0 stalemate in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Arsenal.

They’d be through in the blink of an eye.

Watch the goal of the crushing defeat to Liverpool!!

Before the break, Liverpool’s threat came solely from set-piece deliveries,

mimicking the first leg,

when both of their goals – scored by Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah – came from dead-ball deliveries.

On 31 minutes,

Matip fired a free header from an Alexander-Arnold free-kick against the crossbar, and Van Dijk almost got in from the next action

– an Alexander-Arnold free-kick – only to deflect his header off Milan Skriniar and past the post. In first-half stoppage time,

Alexander-Arnold would miss a free-kick.

Inter had never lost a European first-leg at home by more than two goals, and the defeat came after a run of poor results, including four games without a win in Serie A,

a run that saw them pushed out of first place by city rivals Milan and ended only last Friday with a 5-0 victory over bottom-placed Salernitana.

Salah hit the post on 52 minutes after a lob from Thiago and Samir Handanovic’s failure to punch away at full length.

Simone Inzaghi’s team were outstanding,

but they rode their luck.

Martnez had flickered at the end of a rapid Inter incision,

seeing his shot from inside a pocket of space ricochet off Robertson and slip wide,

while the play for the goal had been set up by Matip after a sloppy ball up the line.

Ivan Perisic gathered, and Van Dijk did not get near enough to Martnez when Sánchez found him.

Martnez’s shot was a triumph of technique and boldness,

and his squad had reason to be optimistic. They then had a total of ten soldiers. Liverpool would get the job done.