Inter Milan ended Liverpool FC‘s seven-match winning run in the UEFA Champions League in the second leg of the Round of 16. But even after the 0-1 loss at Anfield, the Reds progressed to the next round as they won the first leg for two goals at San Siro.
The Reds were far from their best at their home ground, and there was a sense of relief around Anfield at full-time after Liverpool suffered a scare before booking their place in the last eight.
It was Liverpool’s first defeat at home in a year. This defeat came almost a year since Liverpool’s last loss at Anfield. Mario Lemina scored the only goal to give relegation-threatened Fulham a surprise away win on 7 March 2021. Liverpool had gone 28 games unbeaten at home, winning 21 and drawing seven, before Inter’s first victory over the Reds since 1965.
Liverpool had chances to level. Mohamed Salah volleyed against the post, and Luis Diaz’s close-range shot was deflected over by Arturo Vidal.
“We struggled in the beginning,” Salah said. “We managed to hold the ball up more in the second half. The most important thing is we qualified. Hopefully we’ll be better in the next game.”
Liverpool are still in contention for a quadruple after winning the League Cup last month, then reaching the quarterfinals of the FA Cup and closing Manchester City‘s lead at the top of the Premier League 2021-22 to six points with a game in hand.
Inter’s focus now returns to trying to catch AC Milan in Serie A 2021-22, with two points to make up and a game in hand. “We did our best at Anfield,” Inter coach Simone Inzaghi said. “And we come out of these two games as a better side, strengthened.”
The game was also stopped for a few minutes in the first half due to a medical emergency in the crowd.
After the match resumed, Liverpool got a great chance to score the opener. But Joel Matip’s header hit the crossbar. Then Virgil Van Dijk almost scored from the resulting corner. But his shot was blocked by Milan Skriniar.
The hosts hit the woodwork again shortly after the break when Mohamed Salah’s close-range effort struck the bottom of the post.
After the hour mark, Inter silenced Anfield as Martinez hit a stunning strike from outside the box that arrowed into the top corner.
Lautaro Martinez’s swerving shot that reduced the deficit in the 61st minute gave the Italian champions hope of a comeback.
But within two minutes, Inter’s task was made more difficult when Alexis Sanchez was sent off after his follow-through on Fabinho earned him a second booking.
The red card made things more difficult for Inter Milan. Liverpool started to dominate and took advantage of one man short for the Nerazzuri.
Liverpool have now reached the last eight of the Champions League for the fourth time in the previous five seasons.
The draw for the last eight takes place on 18 March in Nyon, Switzerland.