Two late goals in the first leg at Inter Milan have put Liverpool well on the way to a fourth Uefa Champions League quarterfinal appearance in five seasons.
Substitute Roberto Firmino headed a 75th-minute opener at San Siro on 16 February before Mohamed Salah added a second eight minutes later, making it seven wins from seven matches in this season’s competition for Liverpool and leaving Inter needing to win in England for only the second time in their history.
Inter are in the Uefa Champions League knockout rounds for the 11th time but the first in 10 years, having finished runners-up to Real Madrid in group D, while Liverpool became the first English club to win all six games in a Uefa Champions League section as they ended group B 11 points clear.
This is one of two ties in the 2021-22 Uefa Champions League round of 16, along with Benfica-Ajax, to bring together two former European Cup winners, although this is only these sides’ sixth competitive fixture.
The most recent of the sides’ two ties before this season came at this stage of the 2007-08 Uefa Champions League, Liverpool winning 3-0 on aggregate.
Late strikes from Dirk Kuyt (85) and Steven Gerrard (90) earned the home side a 2-0 win at Anfield on 19 February 2008, with Fernando Torres’ 64th-minute effort for the visitors the only goal of the San Siro return on 11 March.
Liverpool went on to lose 4-3 on aggregate to Chelsea in the semifinals.
Inter had recovered from a first-leg deficit to progress at Liverpool’s expense in the 1964-65 European Cup semifinals en route to retaining the trophy. Roger Hunt’s fourth-minute opener at Anfield was cancelled out by Sandro Mazzola six minutes later before Ian Callaghan (34) and Ian St. John (75) gave the home side the win.
The Italian side were level on aggregate ten minutes into the San Siro return through Mario Corso (8) and Joaquín Peiró (9) before Giancinto Facchetti settled the tie on the hour.
Inter went on to beat Benfica 1-0 in the final, also at San Siro, to claim the second of their three European Cups.