Lautaro Martinez broke his terrible run of form with a hattrick against Serie A’s lowest-ranked side and ironically, the last league goal he scored for Inter Milan came in the reverse fixture against the same team, Salernitana.
Edin Dzeko also scored a brace in what will be an encouraging display of attacking intent ahead of a trip to Merseyside as far as Inter fans are concerned.
It’s the first time Martinez has found the back of the net in Serie A since the 17th of December so it was a significant game for the Argentine.
He could have had several goals on the day but he will be delighted to be back in the goals and his improved form could not come at a more important stage of the season as the title race hots up.
The more pressing matter is that Inter Milan travel to England this week to face Liverpool in the second leg of the Champions League Round of 16 tie which currently sees them trail by two goals to nil.
Martinez was anonymous in Milan in the first leg when Liverpool travelled to the San Siro and while Simone Inzaghi got his tactics pretty spot on in the first half and for most of the second half, Jurgen Klopp punished his players’ inability to score.
The great man himself, Lionel Messi, called Martinez ‘spectacular’ and so despite his poor form recently, it’s important to remember the damage he could cause if he’s not marked properly.
The Anfield outfit now heads into the second leg of the tie in an extremely strong position as they have a two-goal buffer and are in fantastic form despite the tense nature of their win over West Ham.
The Hammers lost 1-0 away to Liverpool but they forced the home team into a goal-line clearance and broke their offside trap on a number of occasions to perhaps present Martinez and co. with the blueprint for success on Tuesday.
Chelsea were defeated by the Kopites 11-10 on penalties in the Carabao Cup final but the game itself was tight and decided by extremely fine margins as Romelu Lukaku and Joel Matip both had goals ruled out in normal time for offside.
And I will touch only very, very briefly on the Romelu Lukaku goal – which was disallowed by the assistant and not by the VAR.
This is the same system we have had all season. If the tech says no goal, it's no goal.
The parallax of the image fools the human eye. pic.twitter.com/7OycQLRau0
— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) February 28, 2022
Should Liverpool gift Inter Milan a route back into the Champions League Round of 16 tie, it seems prudent to think that it could only come from the Italians breaking their offside trap even if that’s a lot easier said than done.
It may seem at times as though the Reds are easily breached but the new rule whereby the linesman doesn’t flag for offside until the goalscoring opportunity has passed means that Liverpool appear far shakier at the back than they really are.
Martinez and Dzeko will be hoping to continue the hot form they displayed on Sunday into Tuesday’s massive clash but given how nonchalantly Virgil van Dijk dealt with them at the San Siro, I predict we’ll see much of the same at Anfield.
Just last week, it was reported that Liverpool are monitoring the £72m forward “very carefully” ahead of the summer transfer window.