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Inter boss Simone Inzaghi has stressed the importance of a fast start for his team when they face Liverpool in the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie, saying it is “essential” they score in the first half at Anfield.

The Premier League side take a 2-0 lead into Tuesday’s game after goals from Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah settled a tight encounter at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in the first leg.

Only one team in Champions League history has lost the first leg of a knockout stage tie by two or more goals at home and still gone on to progress, with Manchester United doing so against Paris Saint-Germain in the 2018-19 last 16 (0-2 at home, 3-1 away).

However, speaking at a media conference on Monday ahead of the game, Inzaghi said his team were “unlucky” in the previous game and backed them to respond.

“We were unlucky [in the first leg]. I think the result was harsh,” he said. “We played a great game and deserved more.

“This is a hard match. We will face a great team, but we have confidence. We are full of motivation.”

He was also reminded of last season’s campaign when he was still in charge at Lazio and lost the first leg at the same stage of the Champions League 4-1 at home to Bayern Munich, eventually losing 6-2 on aggregate to the Bundesliga giants.

When asked his thoughts on how to approach this game, Inzaghi added: “I think we are not in pole position. We know we need to score early. A goal in the first half is essential.

“We know the challenge we face. Liverpool are one of the best teams around along with Bayern Munich and Manchester City. Anfield is a great stadium. It is great to be a part of this occasion. The first leg was spectacular, but we know this will be a tougher game.”

Inter defender Alessandro Bastoni also gave his thoughts ahead of the clash on Merseyside, and was asked if the front three of Jurgen Klopp’s team is the strongest he has faced.

“The trio of Liverpool? I have faced many top strikers,” the Italy international said. “I have faced the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, [Karim] Benzema, Vincius [Junior]. They have some top forwards such as Salah, [Sadio] Mane, Diogo [Jota].

“We need to play as a team. This is an important experience for us… We will learn and grow from this.”

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