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Liverpool 0-1 Inter (2-1 agg): Reds through to quarter-finals despite Martinez stunner at Anfield

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Liverpool advanced to the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a 2-1 aggregate victory over 10-man Inter, despite losing 1-0 in Tuesday’s second leg at Anfield.

Late goals from Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah in last month’s first leg ensured the Reds were in control of the tie heading into the return fixture.

The hosts hit the frame of the goal through Joel Matip and Salah and looked under no threat until the point Lautaro Martinez fired in a stunning goal for Inter with an hour played.  

Alexis Sanchez was sent off 107 seconds later for a second yellow card, however, and it was Liverpool who went closest to scoring the next goal when Salah struck the post.

Thiago Alcantara and Matip returned to Liverpool’s line-up and the latter picked out the crossbar from the best of Liverpool’s limited first-half openings.

Milan Skriniar superbly blocked Virgil van Dijk’s goal-bound header moments later, while Hakan Calhanoglu tested Alisson at the other end from a low free-kick.

Liverpool slowly started to turn the screw and should have been out of sight in the tie, only for Salah to fire against the upright after Diogo Jota was denied by Samir Handanovic.

Those wasted chances came back to haunt Jurgen Klopp’s side when Martinez unleashed a swerving 20-yard shot into the top-right corner.

Sanchez, who received a yellow for a challenge on Thiago late in the first half, was sent off for following through on the same opponent almost immediately after Martinez’s goal.

Liverpool were further frustrated as Salah’s cushioned volley came back off the upright, but the hosts protected their one-goal aggregate lead to reach the last eight.

What does it mean? Reds’ runs ended

Liverpool had won 12 games in a row in all competitions and gone just over a year – a run spanning 28 matches – since last losing at Anfield prior to this contest.

Martinez’s goal brought an end to both of those streaks, but the damage was not fatal for Liverpool thanks to their late double at San Siro three weeks ago.

Despite their efforts, Inter could not join Manchester United as the second team to recover from two-or-more goals down at home in the first leg to advance in this competition.

Sanchez’s red costly

Martinez’s goal was his first in 11 Champions League matches since netting against Real Madrid in November 2020 – and what an incredible strike it was from the Inter forward.

Unfortunately for him and Inter, former Arsenal and Manchester United player Sanchez was dismissed two minutes later, badly damaging the visitors’ hopes of a leveller.

Salah sums up Liverpool’s woes

Liverpool hit the frame of the goal on three occasions and were denied by a couple of superb last-ditch blocks from Inter players on a frustrating a day at Anfield.

Salah had previously scored eight goals in seven Champions League games this term, but he failed to net from his three shots today, which had an expected goals value of 0.70.

Key Opta Facts:

– Liverpool have reached the Champions League quarter-final stage for the fourth time in the last five seasons, failing only in 2019-20 in this time (eliminated at last-16 stage).

– Inter have been eliminated from each of their last three Champions League knockout stage ties, falling at the 2010-11 quarter-final, 2011-12 last 16 and this season’s last 16.

– The Reds suffered their first home defeat in 29 matches across all competitions (W21 D7) since losing to Fulham over a year ago in March 2021.

– The visitors enjoyed their first away win over an English side in any competition since March 2010 against Chelsea, ending a run of four straight defeats in the country.

– Sanchez is  the first Inter player to receive a red card in the knockout stages of the Champions League since Cristian Chivu against Schalke in April 2011.

What’s next?

Liverpool switch focus back to the Premier League on Saturday with a trip to Brighton and Hove Albion, while Inter head to Torino in Serie A on Sunday.

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