Steven Gerrard insists Inter are strong enough to take down Manchester City or Real Madrid in the Champions League final, despite heading into next month’s showpiece as the underdogs.
Simone Inzaghi’s side cruised to a 3-0 aggregate win against bitter rivals Milan thanks to Lautaro Martinez’s 74th minute strike in the second leg at the San Siro on Tuesday night.
After basking in well-deserved celebrations, the Italian giants will sit back and watch Manchester City take on Real Madrid at the Etihad on Wednesday evening, with the score tied at 1-1 following last week’s first leg in Spain.
Inter will head into the final as underdogs regardless of Wednesday’s victors – with in-form Manchester City hunting down a treble and reigning European champions Real Madrid boasting a record 14 Champions League titles across their history – but Liverpool legend Gerrard feels that will almost suit the Italians.
‘Yes of course they can (win it),’ Gerrard said on BT Sport after Inter’s 1-0 win over Milan on the night. ‘They’re in with a chance and they deserve that chance.
Inter booked their place in the Champions League final with a 3-0 aggregate win over AC Milan
Inter will now face either Manchester City or Real Madrid in next month’s final in Turkey
Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard was very impressed by the Italian side’s organisation
‘I thought they were organised, professional, to a man. They did the job tonight, soaked up the pressure and hit them on the break. They’re tough to beat, they defend the box extremely well and they carry a threat in the forward areas. Whoever they face in the final, they’re in with a shout.
‘I think they’ll pose a good challenge. They take the space away, they’re composed on the ball, have wingbacks that suit the way they play and (Federico) Dimarco gives them a real threat on the counter.
‘The three centre-backs defended their box to a man. They’ve got good balance in midfield, a good blend of runners that can make it to the box, and they’re both dogged and tenacious.’
Gerrard went on to highlight the options Inzaghi is blessed with in attack, as Edin Dzeko, Romelu Lukaku and Martinez are all pushing for a place in the front two in next month’s final.
‘With those three forwards, I think he’s got a decision to make,’ the former Champions League winner added. ‘Does he go for Dzeko’s experience, creating something out of nothing, or does he go for Lukaku, who can play on the ball, run in behind and be mobile?
‘Lukaku can hold the ball up, he can create a goal, and score a goal. It’s a big decision to make in the final. I think Lukaku will bring more mobility on the counter (than Dzeko).
‘Inzaghi has worked out the strength of this team. He’s got a good squad. Marcelo Brozovic came on tonight and showed incredible experience. Inzaghi’s found the right formula with this team and is thriving in this competition.’
Despite agreeing with Gerrard over Inter’s strengths in the semi-final, former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand stressed Manchester City and Real Madrid will pose a far tougher test for the Italian giants, particularly in attack.
‘The one difference they’ll have against Man City or Real Madrid is the striker,’ Ferdinand proposed. ‘The forward they’ll be playing against won’t be an (Olivier) Giroud, who can’t move with all due respect.
Inter played a physical game and limited Milan to only a handful of chances across the two legs
The Serie A giants will have to stop Karim Benzema if Real Madrid triumph on Wednesday night
If City win, Inter face an equally tough task in dealing with record-breaking star Erling Haaland
‘He needs the ball played into him. He can score goals, he’s shown that over his career, but you have to put the ball on a sixpence for him to deliver.
‘But (Real Madrid striker Karim) Benzema creates something out of nothing. And (Erling) Haaland obviously at Man City. These guys are mobile, quick, it’s a different proposition for them.’
Agreeing with Ferdinand, fellow BT Sport pundit Michael Owen added: ‘Inter will have to do something different, something special in the final. Do something these teams won’t expect.
‘The formation is one thing, that’s something that Manchester City and Real Madrid don’t come across every week. But if they go toe to toe with either of those teams, I don’t think I’d put any player of theirs into Man City or Real Madrid’s side.’
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk