Lautaro Martinez expects Inter to be quickly on the front foot when they tackle Liverpool in the Champions League at San Siro on Wednesday.
The blow of losing top spot to Milan in Serie A could be softened by a positive midweek result against Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League giants.
Inter remain firmly in the Scudetto race, one point behind Milan and with a game in hand, and last season’s champions are also eager to make progress in Europe.
Liverpool will provide them with a stiff test, and the Reds have already won away against Milan in the competition earlier this season.
Martinez told Prime Video: “Against Liverpool, we want to be protagonists, keep the ball, attack, defend the goal well and hurt the opponent.”
The Argentinian forward has yet to score in the Champions League this season, despite totalling 2.14 expected goals (xG) in the group stage. That metric assesses the chances he has had, with Martinez having had 25 shots so far, of which just six have hit the target.
He has played six games in the Champions League in each of the last three seasons, hitting five goals in 2019-20 and one last term. Indeed, since scoring against Real Madrid in November 2020, Martinez has played 697 minutes without finding the net in the competition.
To get off the mark against Liverpool would be ideal timing.
“You will see a player who has grown a lot,” Martinez said. “It will be a great game to play. We passed the group phase, which was already important to us. Now I hope to do well and to lend a hand to the team to try to move forward, which is our dream.”
Liverpool 2-0 Inter (2007/08): Kuyt, Gerrard
Inter 0-1 Liverpool (2007/08): Torres
Who’ll come out on top this time?#UCLdraw | #UCL pic.twitter.com/jnnTQejaFZ
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) December 14, 2021
Martinez hailed Liverpool boss Klopp as “a great coach”, and predicted the German will have done his homework on Inter.
“Liverpool have many strong players,” Martinez added. “We have to prepare for the game well and work on the possession phase because it will be important. They attack with a lot of people, they play with very fast forwards. We will have to be careful.”
Liverpool won home and away when these sides met at the same last-16 stage in the 2007-08 season, with Fernando Torres getting the only goal of the game at San Siro.
Up to this point, the only team to have recorded wins over both Milan and Inter in the same European Cup or Champions League campaign have been Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham in the 2010-11 season.
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