The Warm Down: Reds Italian Job sees them through
Lautaro Martinez of FC Internazionale celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the UEFA Champions League Round Of Sixteen Leg Two match between Liverpool FC and FC Internazionale at Anfield on March 8, 2022 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

A stunning Lautaro Martinez goal was not enough to deny Liverpool a place in the Champions League quarter-finals. 

It was far from a vintage European performance at Anfield as the Italians sealed a 1-0 win
 

Liverpool held on to secure a 2-1 aggregate win after their sensational performance at the San Siro. 

Here are the key takeaways from the round of 16 second-leg clash. 

Anfield unbeaten run over

The Argentinian's stunning strike ended the Reds 28-game unbeaten streak at Anfield. 
 

It was a year and a day since a 1-0 defeat to Fulham marked their sixth consecutive home loss.

It also brought the Reds impressive winning-streak (12 games in all competitions) to a grinding halt. 

However, manager Jurgen Klopp was not too disappointed with the result after the game.

"The art of football is to lose the right games. If there was any game we could have afforded to lose it was tonight, because the main target of this competition is to get through," he said. 

Awesome Alexander-Arnold 

We know all too well about the danger Trent Alexander-Arnold poses in attacking areas, however, he has often been criticised for the defensive side of his game. 

Tonight's performance showed that his manager's defence of his defending after the win over West Ham was justified. 

After Saturday's game, Klopp said that he did not understand the criticism of his right-back's defensive abilities.

"If he couldn’t defend, he would not play here – at least not that in that position," he added. 

Against Inter, the 23-year-old won five of six duels, made nine ball recoveries and three tackles/interceptions. 

He had the most touches of the ball (126) and created five chances. The best being when his set pieces were headed against the bar by Joel Matip and then into Milan Skriniar by Virgil Van Dijk

He even nearly scored, with a stunning free-kick effort curling just wide of Samir Handanovic's left post. 

Stuttering Salah 

The recent form of Mohamed Salah is a slight cause for concern for Jurgen Klopp

The Egyptian has failed to score in his last three starts but had chances to break that mini-drought. 

He hit the post twice but was upbeat about it after the game. 

"I hit the post twice but it's ok. Maybe next game I can score three," he joked to BT Sport. 

Maybe he is need of a break after his exploits at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Klopp will hope that Salah is back to his best soon as the Reds seek to add the Champions League, FA Cup and the Premier League to the Carabao Cup they won last week. 

 Jones takes his chance

Curtis Jones provided his manager with a selection dilemma at a crucial point in the Reds season. 

He was given a surprise start and he did not disappoint with a mature performance against a top side.

The 21-year-old was subbed off after 65 minutes after a solid display.

He won four of his six duels, made five ball recoveries and completed 93% of his passes. 

Jones missed the squad for the first-leg, Premier League games against Burnley and Norwich and the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea. 

However, he seems to be back in favour for the business end of the season.

A rubbish referee?

Champions League referees are usually renowned for being better than their Premier League counterparts. 

That was not the case tonight.

The worst decision was a first-half yellow card for Alexis Sanchez after he had caught Thiago Alcantara in the knee. 

Klopp echoed these sentiments post-match. 

"He was quite lucky he didn’t get a different colour for that foul... Passion is good, but if it leads to those things, it doesn’t help," he said. 

This tweet from a Manchester City writer sums up Antonio Mateu Lahoz's performance.

 

The Verdict

Liverpool are through to the quarter-finals, ultimately that is all that matters.

The performance was not the best but they still restricted Inter to 0.26 xG whilst having 1.87 themselves. 

Teams will be hoping to avoid Klopp's men when the draw takes place on March 18th.

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