Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp sees no reason to relax
Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp insists their Champions League tie against Inter Milan is far from over and their 2-0 victory in the first leg in Italy is a “dangerous” scoreline for the return encounter.
Liverpool were not at their very best in the San Siro on Wednesday, but goals from Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah put the Premier League side in a commanding position, but not one they should feel too comfortable with ahead of next month’s return leg.
“It is still dangerous,” Klopp said. “It is only half-time. “We don’t feel like we are halfway through and can cruise. We will have to be ready for them again. Inter are a good side. I don’t say ‘job done, put your feet on the table’ in the past so why should I think different about it now?
“They are a very physical team. They played real smart balls. They have this deep last line and in the beginning we did very well. I was not surprised that they are good. We know that. We have to be ready for the second half.”
The goal that unlocked Inter, who had their chances, especially in the first half, came via a Firmino header from a corner — something that Klopp insisted was no fluke. “Peter Krawietz (one of Liverpool’s coaches) and our analysts are responsible for that (a set piece goal),” Klopp added.
“We didn’t have a lot of time to train but we trained set pieces yesterday. You cannot do it without intensity, so it is all credit to Pete and his boys.”
Inter suffered their first home defeat to an English side in European competition since March 2008, when they also lost to Liverpool in the Champions League (0-1), ending a six-game unbeaten run at home to English opposition.
Their coach, Simone Inzaghi, felt things could have gone differently this time around.
“We don’t have much hope now but we will go Anfield to play the best possible match and we will see,” he said. “We knew that they were going to press us, but we also did it well and I think we deserved a different result.”
Coman saves blushes
Bayern Munich midfielder Kingsley Coman struck in the 90th minute to snatch a 1-1 draw at Salzburg on Wednesday. The Austrian side took the lead midway through the first half with a goal on the counterattack from Chukwubuike Adamu.
Adamu, 20, had come on in the 12th minute after starting striker Noah Okafor went off injured.
But Frenchman Coman, who struck the winning goal for Bayern in the 2020 Champions League final, ensured the six-time winners left with a draw when he appeared at the far post to meet a Thomas Mueller header and tuck the ball into the net from close range.
Bayern’s Joshua Kimmich lamented a lack of intensity from his side before the interval. “We didn’t do quite enough in the first half, we weren’t focused enough, we didn’t win the second balls and that allowed Salzburg to have dangerous opportunities on the counter,” he said.
“We controlled the game better in the second half and applied more pressure and got the draw in the end which for me is a good result.”
Coman’s equaliser meant Bayern have scored in 29 consecutive Champions League matches although Robert Lewandowski’s record run of consecutive wins in the competition was halted.
The Polish striker had won his previous 22 Champions League games since Bayern’s 3-1 loss against Liverpool in 2019, missing last season’s quarter final first-leg defeat to Paris St Germain through injury.
Bayern went into the tie as clear favourites after winning all six of their group-stage games but arrived in Austria reeling from a shock 4-2 thrashing by Bochum in the Bundesliga.
Julian Nagelsmann’s side were kept at bay early on by a disciplined Salzburg, who qualified for the knockout stage for the first time in their history under 33-year-old coach Matthias Jaissle in his debut season in charge.
La Liga champions Atletico Madrid fell to a shock 1-0 defeat on Wednesday at home to basement club Levante, who picked up only their second win of the season.
Gonzalo Melero’s goal in the second half inflicted a sixth defeat in 10 league matches on Atletico, deepening their problems a week before they host Manchester United in a Champions League last-16 first leg tie.
Atletico thought they had grabbed an equaliser when Angel Correa netted with a spectacular overhead kick in stoppage time. But the goal was ruled out for a foul.