Liverpool reaches Champions League quarterfinals despite loss to Inter Milan

By Associated Press

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool could cope with its first Anfield loss in a year to still overcome Inter Milan and reach the quarterfinals of the Champions League.

Leading 2-0 from the last-16 first leg in Italy, Lautaro Martinez’s swerving shot that reduced the deficit in the 61st minute gave the Italian champions a hope of a comeback.

But within two minutes, Inter’s task was made more difficult when Alexis Sanchez was sent off after his follow-through on Fabinho earned him a second booking.

Liverpool held on to lose 1-0 and advance 2-1 on aggregate. The 2019 Champions League winners are in the quarterfinals for the fourth time in five years despite their first loss in the competition this season.

Liverpool had chances to level. Mohamed Salah volleyed against the post and Luis Diaz’s close-range shot was deflected over by Arturo Vidal.

“We struggled in the beginning,” Salah said. “We managed to hold the ball up more in the second half. The most important thing is we qualified. Hopefully we’ll be better in the next game.”

Inter went out with only the consolation of being the first team to win at Anfield since Fulham 366 days earlier.

“The difficulties we had were pretty close to what I expected,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told broadcaster BT Sport. “Inter are a really good side and set up for these kinds of games. They are really fighters and I’m happy we don’t play this type of team every week.”

Liverpool is still in contention for a quadruple after winning the League Cup last month, then reaching the quarterfinals of the FA Cup and closing Manchester City’s lead at the top of the Premier League to six points with a game in hand.

Inter’s focus now returns to trying to catch AC Milan in Serie A, with two points to make up and a game in hand.

“We did our best at Anfield,” Inter coach Simone Inzaghi said. “And we come out of these two games as a better side, strengthened.”

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