- Liverpool kicked off their UEFA Champions League round of 16 with a comfortable 2-0 win over Inter
- Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah scored late to hand Liverpool the victory
- 18-year-old Harvey Elliot made history starting in the midfield for Liverpool in the clash at Anfield
Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah both scored late to put Liverpool in command of their Champions League round of 16 tie with Inter thanks to a 2-0 win at Anfield.
Inter looked the most threatening of the two sides across the first hour, with Hakan Calhanoglu rattling the crossbar inside 16 minutes.
However, after replacing Diogo Jota at half-time, substitute Firmino glanced an excellent header across goal to score with the game’s first effort on target in the 75th minute.
Salah doubled Liverpool’s advantage eight minutes later with a deflected shot, leaving Inter with it all to do in the return leg of the last-16 showdown at Anfield on March 8.
Jurgen Klopp’s men had a chance to open the scoring in the 14th minute, but Sadio Mane was unable to keep his header from the edge of the six-yard box down.
Inter went closer two minutes later, with Calhanoglu finding a pocket of space in the box before seeing his snapshot come back off the woodwork.
Lautaro Martinez arrived just too late to turn in an Ivan Perisic cross as the hosts started the second half brightly, while Edin Dzeko saw a goal correctly disallowed for offside in the 60th minute.
The introduction of Luis Diaz gave Liverpool fresh input, but it was Firmino who broke the deadlock with a fine header.
Salah ensured the victory was beyond doubt when his shot squirmed over the line in the 83rd minute, putting a place in the quarter-finals firmly within Liverpool’s reach.
Thanks to Liverpool’s late double, Klopp became the first German coach and only the eighth in history to reach 50 wins in the Champions League.
Having beaten Milan in the group stage, the Reds became only the second side to defeat the Rossoneri and Inter in the same season in Europe’s premier club competition – Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham being the only other team to achieve the feat.
In a big call by Liverpool tactical team led by Klopp, Harvey Elliott was handed a Champions League debut at the heart of Liverpool’s midfield. At 18 years and 318 days old, he became the youngest player to start a match for Liverpool in Europe’s premier club competition.
It may not have been his best performance, but Salah marked his 50th Champions League appearance for Liverpool with a goal – his 33rd in the competition overall and eighth this season. It was his 10th goal in their past eight away Champions League matches.
Liverpool takes on Norwich City at Anfield in the Premier League on Saturday, while Inter hosts Sassuolo on Sunday in the Serie A.