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When Liverpool Faced Inter In The 2008 Champions League Round Of 16

When Liverpool Faced Inter In The 2008 Champions League Round Of 16

Tonight we see Inter vs Liverpool in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie. We take a look back to when the sides last met in the Champions League, which was in the last-16 in 2008.

Inter vs Liverpool 2008

It was the Rafa Benitez era, when Liverpool were able to produce outstanding Champions League performances that belied the quality of their starting XI and their Premier League showings.

Heading into their round of 16 tie, Inter had comfortably made it through their group, with five wins and one loss. Liverpool had to secure a clutch win away to Marseille in their last group game to go through.

The first leg was played at Anfield. Going into the match Inter were 11 points clear at the top of Seria A, and unbeaten in all competitions. They were the clear favourites to progress to the quarter-finals and one of the favourites to go all the way.

However, this was a tough and hard-working Liverpool side, with touches of class in just the right areas, and a manager who knew how to win in the Champions League.

Fans gather in Rome before Inter vs Liverpool 2008

They had a solid unit at the back. Sami Hyypia was in his ninth year as a red, and he was partnered by the big Slovakian Martin Skrtel. Brazilian Fabio Aurelio was at left-full back, while Jamie Carragher completed an experienced and resilient back four.

Lucas, Dirk Kuyt, and Ryan Babel played in the midfield and upfront. Hard working players who didn’t shirk responsibility and left it all out on the pitch.

The four players who completed Liverpool’s starting XI were Jose “Pepe” Reina, Javier Mascherano, Steven Gerrard, and Fernando Torres. These names made up the word class component running through the spine of the 2008 Liverpool side.

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Mascherano was one of the best defensive midfielders of his generation. Gerrard and Torres are Liverpool legends, and during this period Torres was at times unplayable.

At the back was of course Jose “Pepe” Reina, whose presence in goal they severely missed when he left in 2014. Only until they signed their current no. 1 Alisson Becker did they find a worthy replacement.

The team duly served up a 2-0 defeat of Inter at home. Both goals came from fairly scruffy shots that went under Inter bodies, scuppering the view of their keeper Julio Cesar.

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The first was Dirk Kuyt volley from 12 yards, the second was a Stevie-G outside the box, in off the post special.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQbW_ebUmf4

Off to the San Siro they went for the second leg. The game had to be postponed a week as it clashed with AC Milan’s and Arsenal’s last-16 tie.

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Inter Milan had underestimated Liverpool in the first leg, leaving themselves a mountain to climb, but a doable challenge considering their home advantage and the team they possessed.

Their side featured the likes of Julio Cesar, Maicon, Zanetti, Stankovic, Cambiasso, Imbrahimovic, and an ageing Patrick Vieira. They had class all over the pitch, and Roberto Mancini at the helm.

It was not to be however, and the this great side succumbed to the pressure of the knockout stages of the Champions League, as Fernando Torres sealed their fate in the 64th minute. The cool finish from Torres meant that Inter required four goals in 25 minutes to go through.

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The game finished 0-1 to Liverpool. Benitez's side would be knocked out in extra-time of the semi-finals by Chelsea. Manchester United would end up winning in the final.

For tonight’s game in the San Siro, Liverpool are comfortable favourites, and have been in impressive league form recently. They also had a 100% record in the group stage, while Inter won three and lost two.

However, Inter are only a point behind Serie A leaders AC Milan and have a game in hand, so a home win would not be too much of a shock.

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See Also: Why Win In Lisbon Shows This Year Might Be Different For Manchester City

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