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Liverpool’s competition for places hots up, but so does “fight for the same goals”

Liverpool defender Andy Robertson admits while competition for places is at its height within the squad, there remains the collective determination to succeed.

The 2-0 win over Inter Milan in the San Siro put Jurgen Klopp’s side in a commanding position to secure a place in their fourth Champions League quarter-final in five years in next month’s second leg.

It maintains the club’s genuine challenge on four fronts, the first instalment of which comes a week on Sunday against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final.

A large factor in the win in Italy was the options Klopp had on the bench.

The half-time introduction of Roberto Firmino led to him making the crucial breakthrough, while midfielders Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita and £37.5m January signing Luis Diaz all came on after an hour to help turn the tide against an increasingly confident Inter side.

“He deserves it. Bobby is an incredible footballer. He was so happy he had scored and I thought the subs make a big difference,” said Robertson, who provided the corner for Firmino’s 75th-minute opener.

MILAN, ITALY - Tuesday, February 15, 2022: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates after the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg game between FC Internazionale Milano and Liverpool FC at the Stadio San Siro. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“We’re all fighting for the same spots but most importantly we are all fighting for the same goals. We all want success and we can only do that by working together.

“When you see the quality coming off the bench, it can turn the game and that’s what happened here.”

Until the goals, a 0-0 draw looked like being the best result Liverpool could have hoped for having withstood some considerable pressure, especially after the interval.

Robertson accepts they endured a tough time against the defending Serie A champions but knows the resilience within the squad has been honed over several years.

“We need to be at our best every game and against Inter we weren’t quite there at 100 percent,” the Scotland international told LFCTV.

Mohamed Salah and Ibrahima Konate of Liverpool celebrate after scoring during the UEFA Champions League Round of Sixteen Leg One match between FC Inter Milan (Giuseppe Maffia / Alamy Stock Photo)

“When you’re not there you need to do enough to win the game and I thought we did that. We defended really well, I don’t really remember Ali (Alisson Becker) having too many saves to make.

“We had to suffer a lot, we had to dig deep, especially at the start of the second half, I thought they started putting pressure on but without creating a real clear-cut chance.

“We limited the chances they were creating, which is always positive when they were on top. But this tie isn’t over. Inter are a really good team and they will come to Anfield full of confidence thinking they can cause us problems.”

Klopp’s gamble of handing Harvey Elliott his Champions League debut against Inter, becoming the club’s youngest player to start a European game, did not go as planned but that was no fault of the 18-year-old with a number of more senior players underperforming.

“It was absolutely OK, but Harvey can play much better, we know that,” said Klopp.

“He did the job, he was working incredibly hard and all these kind of things. When you are 18 years old and play against one of the most experienced teams in world football and they are Italian on top of that, for an offensive player it’s not a walk in the park.

“It was a very important game for him and very helpful for us as well.”

Liverpool are awaiting the results of a scan on forward Diogo Jota’s ankle injury which forced him off at half-time.

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