The first leg is at San Siro next week and the Nerazzurri are the underdogs against Jurgen Klopp’s giants, but former Premier League star Di Canio – now a pundit on English football for Sky Sport Italia – believes it’s by no means Mission: Impossible.
“Had it been in October or November, when the English side tend to give their best, I’d have bet less on Inter,” Di Canio told La Gazzetta dello Sport magazine SportWeek.
“Inter do still have an international level this season, as they only lost against Real Madrid due to a lack of clinical finishing, not certainly ideas or style.
“At this stage of the season, Liverpool have some small cracks in the armour that can be exploited. The Liverpool of two years ago had an impenetrable defence, as Virgil van Dijk had improved everyone around him. Since returning from injury, he’s not the same player and therefore the whole team concedes more.
“Liverpool keep conceding the same dangerous opportunities nowadays, vertical balls behind the defenders, who then start their runs late. That lack of focus is where Inter can hurt them.
“If you also look at Van Dijk’s body language, he used to move his arms to bring the full-backs tighter, but now he just flails his arms, complaining and looking frustrated with his teammates.”
Di Canio maintains current Serie A leaders Inter can have their say in the Champions League against Liverpool by playing to their own strengths.
“Ivan Perisic and Denzel Dumfries will have to do extraordinary work, pushing, pressing, trying to torture the opposition full-backs, but also then get straight back into position, otherwise Liverpool will skip the midfield and send Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah in one-on-one situations.
“Inter must have the courage to pass it around in Liverpool’s face, but without losing balls cheaply, otherwise it’s goodbye.
“I can imagine Edin Dzeko dropping into a deeper position and going slightly off centre, which would force Van Dijk out of position and Lautaro Martinez to cut inside and do damage.”
Di Canio: “Inter, devi avere il coraggio di palleggiare in faccia al Liverpool” https://t.co/B4xbftyv0D
— FcInterNews.it (@FcInterNewsit) February 12, 2022