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It would be a surprise if Diogo Jota didn’t start for Liverpool against Inter Milan tonight considering the form of the Portuguese attacker

It would be a surprise if Diogo Jota didn’t start for Liverpool against Inter Milan tonight considering the form of the Portuguese attacker

It would be a surprise if Diogo Jota didn’t start for Liverpool against Inter Milan tonight considering the form of the Portuguese attacker

Trent Alexander-Arnold has stoked the fires of Liverpool’s rivalry with Manchester City by reminding them they have never matched the Merseysiders’ Champions League glory.

City have won three of the past four Premier League titles, and appear on course for a fourth under Pep Guardiola, adding an FA Cup and four League Cups since 2016.

But while Liverpool have won one English title and the Champions League in that period, the biggest prize of European glory has eluded Guardiola at City.

Alexander-Arnold would have touched a nerve at the Etihad with those comments as the Champions League round of 16 kicked off.

The 23-year-old full-back was asked whether Jurgen Klopp’s squad felt they should have won more trophies as a group, and he said there was now an expectation of at least one per season at Anfield.

“We don’t feel disappointed we haven’t won enough trophies as the ones we have won are the biggest and best you can get your hands on.

“Not making any digs but you look at Man City’s amazing team and they haven’t been able to lift the Champions League,” Alexander-Arnold said ahead of the last-16 tie against Inter Milan at the San Siro tonight.

“They won a couple of Prems but haven’t been able to win the Champions League.

“We’ve won both over the last few years and it shows you we can do it in both competitions.

“There is an expectation now, as a team and players, to win trophies. One trophy a season minimum is what we have to achieve.

“With the squad and manager we have, we should be winning trophies. It is expected now.”

Alexander-Arnold won Europe’s top club prize in 2019. City have been thwarted by their English rivals Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, most recently by the latter in last year’s final.

Meanwhile, Klopp says the recovery of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah after reaching the final of the Africa Cup of Nations has been made smooth as both players are teetotal.

“A week is no problem,” Klopp said. “Both don’t drink alcohol at all so that is the major problem when you celebrate a big thing. It kills recovery time or extends the time.

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“They were fit the day after the game. They are both a force of nature. Hopefully it stays forever like that.

“They recover extremely quickly and for Mo it was only a few days, for Sadio it was a week and celebration between. But I am not surprised about that.”

Klopp has the luxury of several selection quandaries ahead of the tie in Italy, especially in attack.

Where once it was unthinkable that Liverpool would head into a Champions League knockout round without a forward line of Salah, Mane and Roberto Firmino, the era of an established Anfield attacking trio is over.

Diogo Jota’s impact means the once tried-and-trusted threesome have started together in only five of a combined 30 Premier League and Champions League fixtures this season and it would be a surprise if the Portugal international did not start tonight.

“Diogo, outstanding player, outstanding person, someone who has added a lot to the team, versatile, played in all positions in the front line and scored goals in all,” Alexander-Arnold said.

Liverpool anticipate Luis Diaz’s exciting start will provide the same credible competition to Salah and Mane, their contract impasse an unavoidable shadow as the Merseyside club focus on the present with an eye on the future.

“It is a good situation to have, but it is much more important how we play than who is playing,” Klopp said.

“It helps we have solutions for different situations. We need fresh legs for this game.”


Inter Milan v Liverpool

Live, VM Two/BT Sport 2, 8.0

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Telegraph Media Group Limited [2021]


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