Salah warning must be heeded as Jota struggles
Mohamed Salah, in trademark fashion, got straight to the point.
“We have lost a game but sometimes it can give you a push,” said the Liverpool forward. “It can happen that we missed a lot of chances – and it’s not in the league.”
There was a similar message from Jurgen Klopp in his post-match analysis, readily admitting his team lost the right game in being downed for only the fourth time in 53 matches.
Amid the inevitable angst at a rare defeat, Liverpool cannot lose sight of the bigger picture.
And if this acts as a boot of up the backside for the Reds not to allow standards to slip, then the loss will have served its purpose.
PLAYER RATINGS: Trent Alexander-Arnold outstanding but striker struggles
That said, even in a largely frustrating showing, Salah was only the width of the woodwork from adding to his eight goals in the Champions League this season.
But while Sadio Mane again put in an encouraging shift, the evening was a struggle for Diogo Jota, restored to a central position but worryingly ineffective.
Jota hasn’t quite been the same since returning from the injury suffered in the first half at San Siro, untimely given the impact of new signing Luis Diaz who almost notched during his brief late cameo.
Alexander-Arnold delivers again
Trent Alexander-Arnold is proving as good as his word.
Speaking ahead of the first leg, the Liverpool right-back happily declared he enjoys playing in the latter stages of the season when the real business is settled.
And Alexander-Arnold is certainly proving the man for the big occasion at present.
While there was no assist this time – only the width of the crossbar prevented Joel Matip adding to his tally after a fine free-kick delivery – the defender was a constant danger with his inventive and accurate passing.
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But what also impressed was his diligent defending, not least in one first-half incident when his attentive tracking back allowed him to nick the ball clear from a promising Inter position.
Having had a tough time up against Ivan Perisic at the San Siro, Alexander-Arnold learned from the experience with Liverpool rarely exposed down his flank, Perisic never quite the same threat.
And his performance was all the more impressive given the blustery, swirling conditions that contributed to an overall lack of quality, players on both sides made to look silly as they misjudged and misplaced passes they would ordinarily have little problem dealing with.
No such issues for Alexander-Arnold, though. Is there a better attacking right-back in Europe?
Jones reminder as Thiago and Fabinho lose record
It was the best performance of the still fledgling Liverpool career of Curtis Jones.
But since destroying Porto back in September, Champions League football has been hard to find for the midfielder.
Still nursing an injury picked up on international duty when the Reds then travelled to Atletico Madrid, Jones subsequently missed the rest of the group stage with an eye issue.
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And when the first leg at Inter Milan came around, Jones didn’t even make the matchday squad with Harvey Elliott becoming Liverpool’s youngest-ever player in the competition in midfield.
Tongues wagged, even more so when Jones was among those who didn’t make the cut for the Carabao Cup final win over Chelsea.
This second leg against Inter, though, wasn’t the ideal stage on which the 21-year-old could shine, the standard of opposition and situation in the tie meaning there was no chance of a repeat of his Portuguese heroics.
Jones, while hooked midway through the second half, impressed in patches alongside Thiago Alcantara, which was required with Fabinho having a rare off night.
And this defeat was the first in 20 games when the latter two have started a game together in midfield. Nothing lasts forever.