Inter learned their opponents for the Champions League round of sixteen yesterday, and were hardly pleased to learn that they had been drawn against Liverpool.
This is highlighted in today’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, who note that the Reds’ form will make them extremely formidable opposition for the Nerazzurri and among the favourites for the entire competition.
Inter had initially thought that they had drawn Dutch champions Ajax, and will have believed that while this would be a tough tie it would be winnable for them.
The Amsterdam side impressed with their possession-based style of play in the group stage, collecting six wins from six and demolishing German giants Borussia Dortmund on the way, with free-scoring Sebastien Haller and their severe defense both big obstacles for Inter.
Liverpool, however, are on an entirely different level this season as their form demonstrates, the Gazzetta argues.
The Reds sit second in the Premier League table, one point behind Manchester City, and have scored the most goals in the league.
In Europe, Jurgen Klopp’s men have arguably been even more impressive, finshing on eighteen points in a group containing Porto, AC Milan, and Atletico Madrid.
Last season the Reds had been far from their best, with a defensive injury crisis and a sense that a transition was underway meaning that they were only just able to scrape qualification for this season’s edition of the Champions League.
This time around, the Premier League side have key defender Virgil Van Dijk back, while forward Mo Salah is one of the form players in Europe, and they are once again among the favourites in Europe.
The Nerazzurri have hardly been in bad form themselves, but they will have to see Liverpool as one of the most imposing tests that they could have faced along with Bayern Munich and Manchester City.
Getting this dominant iteration of Liverpool in the first round of the knockouts is a stern reminder of the situation that the Nerazzurri have gotten themselves into by only finishing second in their group, and a sobering comedown after they believed they would have to face Ajax, the Gazzetta argues.