‘Anfield inferno’ – How Italian media reacted to last Inter Milan defeat at Liverpool

Liverpool have placed themselves in a strong position heading into the second leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie with Inter Milan.

Goals from Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah at the San Siro on Wednesday evening have ensured the Reds’ Italian opponents have it all to do when they make the trip to Merseyside on March 8.

Although a daunting prospect for many clubs, Inter have twice before experienced a European evening at Anfield.

Their first trip came during May 1965 as part of the first leg of a European Cup semi-final, losing 3-1 to the Reds before earning a controversial 3-0 victory in the return fixture to reach the final of the competition.

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Inter’s second Anfield visit arrived on this day 14 years ago which saw Liverpool earn a 2-0 victory to take to the San Siro in their Round of 16 meeting.

Late strikes from Dirk Kuyt and Steven Gerrard capped a memorable evening for those inside the ground as Rafa Benitez got the better of Roberto Mancini.

An early red card for Inter defender Marco Materazzi did not help matters for the visitors, who received a negative response from the Italian media following the full-time whistle.

Here is a look back at what was said of the Nerazzurri’s display…

Gazzetta dello Sport

“This is Anfield, but this is not Inter. Passive in the first 30 minutes, penalized for an hour by the harsh sending off of Materazzi and finally pierced in the last five minutes by the one-two strikes from Kuyt and Gerrard. Bitter but fair, because Mancini’s team started badly and ended worse.

“Clinging to the alibi of the numerical disadvantage will not do, because the great Inter of the league cannot be so categorically outplayed by a Liverpool side that is anything but irresistible.

“Materazzi should have got hold of a pair of angel wings and put them on before descending into the Anfield inferno.

“In footballing terms he is in the unenviable situation of a prejudged individual who cannot free himself from the infamy that accompanies him. If you are called Materazzi you truly need an angel’s wings to avoid being hunted down by a Belgian referee who will not forgive you the tiniest mistaken movement.”

Corriere della Sera

“Inter lost themselves in the Anfield atmosphere like a debutant in the Temple of Art.

“They didn’t play, there wasn’t a game, there wasn’t a shot, they lacked personality and nerves. A frankly embarrassing effort when compared to the straightforward superiority Inter enjoy over every Italian opponent.

“Many, too many, players who we consider to be of a superior quality, displayed an inability to adapt to international competition that was totally unexpected.

“Liverpool played in the English style with players who weren’t English. They pushed hard but their greatest show of élan was to cross the ball. It is not obligatory to beat them, but it is normal to play them at football. AC Milan play wherever they go, and they even lose at times – but they always play. They are a team for big international competition. Inter are still not.

“Today we have to say that we have all taken a step back. We who have always celebrated the Inter machine and those who believed they already understood it.”

La Republica

“Liverpool deserved their victory (there was even a missed handball by Vieira in the area), but 2-0 was more than they deserved, even when you take into account that Inter weren’t looking at their best when on 11 men.

“On 10 men it was a different game. Rafa Benítez had not worked out the starting formation, Mancini had: he was right to leave out Vieira. The sending off of Materazzi and above all the injury to (centre-back) Iván Córdoba caused the game to swing the way of Liverpool, who had approached the game with a lot of determination but little lucidity.”


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