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Lautaro Martinez expects Inter to be quickly at the forefront when they tackle Liverpool in the Champions League at the San Siro on Wednesday.
The battle to lose the top spot to Milan in Serie A could be mitigated by a positive midweek result against Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League giants.
Inter remain firm in the Scudetto race, one point behind Milan and with a match in hand, and last season’s champions are also eager to make progress in Europe.
Liverpool will give them a tough test and the Reds have already won away against Milan in the competition earlier in the season.
Martinez told Prime Video: “Against Liverpool we will be the main characters, holding the ball, attacking, defending the goal well and hurting the opponent.”
The Argentine striker has yet to score in the Champions League this season, despite a total of 2.14 expected goals (xG) in the group stage. That goal assesses the chances he has had where Martinez has had 25 shots so far, of which only six have hit the target.
He has played six matches in the Champions League in each of the last three seasons, scoring five goals in 2019-20 and a final period. In fact, since scoring against Real Madrid in November 2020, Martinez has played 697 minutes without finding the net in the competition.
Getting out of goal against Liverpool would be ideal timing.
“You will see a player who has grown a lot,” Martinez said. “It’s going to be a great match to play. We passed the group stage, which was already important to us. Now I hope to do well and lend a hand with the team to try to move on, which is our dream.”
Liverpool 2-0 Inter (2007/08): Kuyt, Gerrard
Inter 0-1 Liverpool (2007/08): Torres
– UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) December 14, 2021
Martinez hailed Liverpool boss Klopp as “a fantastic coach” and predicted the German would have done his homework at Inter.
“Liverpool have a lot of strong players,” Martinez added. “We have to prepare well for the match and work on the possession phase, because it will be important. They attack with a lot of people, they play with very fast attackers. We have to be careful.”
Liverpool won at home and away when these teams met in the same round of 16 in the 2007-08 season, where Fernando Torres scored the only goal of the match at the San Siro.
So far, the only team to have recorded victories over both Milan and Inter in the same Europa Cup or Champions League campaign has been Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham in the 2010-11 season.