Lautaro Martinezs solitary strike was not enough for the visitors, but they did pick up a new admirer in the Reds boss

Jurgen Klopp was relieved to see his Liverpool side squeeze past Inter in the Champions League last 16, but took time to praise the Reds opponents following Tuesdays defeat at Anfield.

Lautaro Martinez put the Italians within reach with a brilliant strike in the second half, the only goal of the evening which cut Liverpools aggregate lead to 2-1.

That advantage proved enough for the Merseysiders, though, who were helped by Alexis Sanchezs red card minutes after Lautaro had opened the scoring.

“I’m glad we don’t face Inter every week, they’re a very tricky opponent. They are fighters, they are warriors,” Klopp acknowledged after the final whistle to BT Sport.

“The difficulties we had were pretty close to what I expected. Inter are a really, really good side, set up for these kind of games.

“Without playing brilliantly we had clear-cut chances. Over the two legs its completely fine that they won one and we went through. We couldve done better against an opponent that makes life uncomfortable.

“It was a really interesting game. In the end we lost the game which obviously is not cool, we didnt come here to lose a home game.

“The opponent caused us problems but if we had used our chances we win this game. We lost a lot of simple balls, which can happen and when the ball was in the air it was like slapstick with the wind.

“The counter-press was not really there. We were around challenges but not in challenges and we didnt get the momentum, thats what we were lacking.”

Tuesdays reverse was the first time in almost exactly a year that Klopps charges have fallen at home, with their last defeat coming to Fulham on March 7, 2021.

Liverpool nevertheless advance to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and retain hopes of a quadruple in 2021-22.

The club lifted the Carabao Cup at the end of February and can reach the FA Cup last four with victory over Nottingham Forest, while in the Premier League they sit six points behind leaders Manchester City having played a game fewer than their rivals.

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