Champions League: Edin Dzeko to face off with Mohamed Salah
Edin Dzeko will take to the San Siro pitch with old friend Mohamed Salah when Inter Milan take on Liverpool in the first leg of the Champions League last 16 tie at the San Siro on Wednesday, a reminder of the havoc the pair used to cause together at Roma.
After an anonymous time at Chelsea and signs of promise at Fiorentina, Salah’s career really started to take off after arriving in the Italian capital in 2015. Once firmly established as strike partners under Luciano Spalletti, Dzeko and Salah hit it off in a big way, scoring 58 goals in all competitions in 2016-17 and helping Roma to second in Serie A.
Salah’s inconsistent but at times unstoppable performances earned him a move to Merseyside, where under Jurgen Klopp he quickly became one of the world’s best.
“I must say, in some little way, I helped Momo become what he is now,” Dzeko said in an interview published by the Daily Mail last week.
A fully-fit Liverpool squad is a “good situation” to have, manager Juergen Klopp said on Tuesday.
Klopp has a full squad at his disposal with club captain Jordan Henderson back from injury, and forwards Salah and Sadio Mane making their first starts since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations in Liverpool’s win over Burnley.
“It’s a good situation to have. It helps that we have options and solutions for different problems,” Klopp told reporters. “We need fresh legs for this game, but much more important is we can change five times in the game.
“Both Mo and Sadio don’t drink alcohol at all and they’re both a force of nature, so they recover extremely quickly. I’m not surprised that they’re already back to playing.”
Inter Milan manager Simone Inzaghi hailed Liverpool as one of top sides in Europe but believes his team has the quality to match them. Inter, European champions in 2010, are playing their first knockout tie in a decade after finishing second in their group behind Real Madrid.
“Liverpool are one of the best teams in Europe, but our players deserve to play these kinds of games,” Inzaghi told reporters on Tuesday.
“On paper, Liverpool are the favourites, but games must be played. I’ll ask the players to go on the pitch and play our football with a free mind, showing our ideas. Determination will make the difference.”
Dzeko is expected to start up front along with Alexis Sanchez and Lautaro Martinez. “We’ve played many games recently. We have two training sessions left, one striker will be introduced as a sub. I’ll make a final decision today (Tuesday) or tomorrow (Wednesday),” Inzaghi said.
Bayern Munich will not change their attacking approach when they visit RB Salzburg despite their shock league defeat by VLF Bochum, coach Julian Nagelsmann said.
Bayern lost 2-4 at Bochum on Saturday, conceding all four goals in the first half to prompt media criticism of Nagelsmann’s attacking tactics.
“My philosophy, my approach, I’m not going to change that,” Bayern coach Nagelsmann told a news conference on Tuesday. “There’s a certain structure in our squad, even though there are some players missing.
“The funny thing about football is that these discussions only come up when you’re losing. In our win over RB Leipzig, we had one less defender than we did in the defeat to Bochum, but somehow everyone said we were too offensive against Bochum.
“In the end, it’s all about the way you play, not the system. I’m not going to change my approach based on what the media writes about us.”
The Austrian champions claimed a 1-0 victory over Sevilla in the final group game to progress to the last 16 for the first time.
Salzburg coach Matthias Jaissle said his side should draw confidence from the achievement, adding that midfielder Nicolas Seiwald could start against Bayern after overcoming a knee injury.