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  1. An opportunity to finish what we started in the 1st leg in Milan. Inter had started the tie as underdogs and had thrown a few punches, but then we stopped pissing about, stepped up a gear and rocked them on their haunches to leave with a 2-0 aggregate lead. While the Serie A title race has been pretty close this year, defending champions Inter still look the strongest of all the teams in the running. Or at least the most consistent. What do we need then? Grit. Organisation. Bravery. Accuracy. Composure. Know-how. Tactical flexibility. Order. Intelligence. Tenacity. Ambition. Lack of complacency. Yer ma! I don’t ask for much. We beat the Italians 2-0 at Anfield in the first leg of the round of 16 back in 2008. We were all over them but couldn’t find the back of the net. Even after ex-blooshite Marco Materazzi was sent for an early bath, we were unable to break them down. Then, late in the second half the ball broke to Dirk on the left corner of the penalty area. He chested the ball down and hammered a shot into the ground. Cesar in the Inter goal could not get to it and we finally had the lead. We made doubly sure in the 90th minute when Stevie dummied to cross from wide on the right and then hit a low shot. It didn’t looks to be a major threat but it beat the attempt of Chivu to block it and arrowed into the far corner past the startled Cesar. From labouring a little, we were suddenly in control of the tie. That’s not the game I want to recall though. I’m thinking of the first week of May 1965 when we took on the defending European champions in the first leg of the semi final at Anfield. We were making strides in Europe (the following year would see us reach the final of the Cup-Winners’ Cup at Hampden Park), and this was the game that announced Liverpool on the European stage. The Italians were streetwise and knew how to control games. I’m sure they’d played in a few pressure cooker atmospheres in Italy, but they would not be expecting what Anfield delivered that night. Just like the club, European got its first glimpse of the power of Anfield in midweek under the lights. The Kop were already well up for it, but Shanks upped the ante by sending the injured Gordon Milne and Gerry Byrne out before kick-off to parade the newly won FA Cup. The former had missed out on the final altogether while the latter had broken his collarbone at Wembley but had to soldier on as there were no subs in those days. The fans went wild as they saw the cup in the flesh. The European Cup was a big deal even back then, but in this country the FA Cup was seen as the domestic pinnacle. It’s the one all the kids dreamed of winning. Helenio Herrera’s team started like a deer in the headlights. They just did not know what had hit them. Sir Roger had put the Reds ahead within 5 minutes with an expert finish. The Italians had to ride the storm but got a break when Big Ron Yeats’ mistimed challenge let Peiro through to square for Mazzola to finish at the Kop end. Undaunted, Liverpool surged forward, roused by the fans. Cally scored a great goal to put us in front once more, shaping to take a free kick before running over the ball and towards the penalty box. Stevenson passed the ball to Sir Roger who’d dropped deep and made space to receive the ball, and he flicked the ball first time into Cally’s run and the effervescent winger buried the ball past the Inter keeper. Saint made sure of the win in the second half, reacting first to the rebound after Inter’s keeper had saved an effort from Sir Roger. The fans started to sing, to the point where even the commentator saw fit to mention what they were saying! No malice intended in the words, just an outpouring of enthusiasm having witnessed one of the great European nights. It would be the first of many on the continental stage. The surprise box office hit in May 1965 was a noir-ish thriller Brainstorm, starring Jeff Hunter and Anne Francis. No? Me neither. Look up the plot for this one, because it has more than a passing resemblance to the no doubt superior Double Indemnity. Femme fatales have been a very successful plot device in cinema over the decades, as has insanity. The plot itself is quite long and almost soap opera-esque in its ludicrousness and implausibility. It must have been an entertaining film to have had some success. I haven’t seen it myself but it sounds interesting enough to check out for curiosity value. Getting through to the quarter finals is the most important thing, but the avoidance of complacency should not be overlooked. I don’t know how Inter will approach this one, but we must not go into it treating it as job done. Klopp and his staff won’t do that, and they’ve been excellent at ensuring the players provide the right levels of concentration, attitude and application no matter the opponent. That is what is needed here, and we have the tools to do it. Just go out there and show it. No half measures.
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