Reds Legend Ian Rush: “Neither Inter Nor Liverpool Are Favourites Against Each Other In Champions League”

Reds Legend Ian Rush: “Neither Inter Nor Liverpool Are Favourites Against Each Other In Champions League”
January 1, 2022 12:20
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Legendary former Liverpool forward Ian Rush believes that the Champions League round of sixteen tie between his former side and Inter should be evenly-contested.

Speaking to Italian news outlet FCInterNews, the Welshman gave his thoughts ahead of what promises to be one of the marquee matchups in the second round of the Champions League.

Inter and Liverpool are two teams with long histories in Europe’s top competition, with the Nerazzurri having won the European Cup or the Champions League three times while the Reds have won a whopping six trophies since the competition’s inauguration.

This season, the two European giants meet at a relatively early stage of the tournament, in the first knockout round.

Both sides are enjoying good domestic form, but both will also see success in Europe as a further goal to crown their seasons.

Rush does not believe that either side has a clear edge based on the quality in their teams and the form that they have shown so far in the campaign.

“It will certainly be an entertaining tie, between two excellent teams that have great pedigree,” he stated. “The two are both having good season, I can’t wait to see them face each other.”

On Inter’s switch from Ajax to Liverpool as round of sixteen in the infamous botched draw for the round, the Reds legend stated that “The first draw was more favourable, absolutely, now it’s more difficult for both of us.”

“But if you want to win the Champions League you have to face the best sides in Europe at some point,” he added.

On the favourites for the tie, the Welshman stated, “Maybe Liverpool, but it’s hard to say. In fact I would say that in general there are no favourites.”

“Inter are top of the Serie A table,” he went on, “they have lost only one match in the Italian top flight so far.”

Rush predicted that Inter will “Certainly be a more difficult opponent for Liverpool than Milan were.”

“Their whole team is strong, otherwise they wouldn’t be top of the table,” he emphasized. “I certainly agree that [Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez] are top players though.”

On the challenge that Inter will face playing away at Anfield, Rush stated that “The atmosphere there when Liverpool is playing is always fantastic, the crowd is the twelfth man on the pitch.”

“This is especially the case in big European matches,” he added. “Sometimes when the opponents take the pitch at Anfield, they need 20-30 minutes to adjust because they feel the pressure of the fans.”

On the possible impact of losing Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah during AFCON on the tie, Rush stated that “It’s hard to say today. Of course, if these either of two fantastic players are’t able to face Inter, it would be a serious loss for the Reds.”

Asked whether the winner of the tie would be among the teams with a serious chance to win the entire competition, he gave the view that “Yes, the English teams are all very strong. And let’s not overlook Real Madrid. Clearly if Inter eliminated Liverpool, they would have a chance to go all the way.”

“Liverpool score a lot this season,” Rush continued. “Normally for a match like this I would say that there wouldn’t be that many goals, but this time I can see there being a lot of them.”

“The Reds will create many chances, but they will also leave spaces in which their opponents can attack,” he added. “The teams’ attacks will be decisive, but so will their defenses.”

On each team’s key man over the tie, he named “Salah and Lautaro.”

Asked whether the Nerazzurri are stronger than another of his former sides, Juventus, Rush agreed that ““Right now, I would probably say yes. The Bianconeri are going through some changes to get back on track.”

“The table is clear on this,” he continued, “Inter are first and Juventus are fighting for a Champions League place.”


By Toni Weeler

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