Premier League • England

‘One of the world’s best’ – Klopp laying pipe ahead of huge Inter Milan raid

Lautaro Martinez (FC Inter) celebrates his goal with Joaquin Correa (FC Inter) against Spezia in Serie A

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is reported to have identified Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez as a dream long-term replacement for Roberto Firmino at Anfield.

The Reds face a round-of-16 clash Champions League clash against the Italian champions in February following Monday’s controversial redraw. The match will represent Liverpool’s second trip to the San Siro this season, having already recorded a 2-1 win over AC Milan. The clash wih Simone Inzaghi’s side though will likely prove another step up in class.

Indeed, the Nerazzurri are littered with a number of household names. And despite seeing Romelu Lukaku lured away last summer, they still remain the team to beat in Serie A.

And following the draw, Klopp outlined several Inter stars he has admiration for.

Klopp fond of Lautaro Martinez

“Obviously [Alexis] Sanchez and [Edin] Dzeko we know well – and Lautaro Martinez is one of the most exciting strikers in the world, probably. It’s a proper Champions League tie, so all good and I am absolutely looking forward to it,” Klopp told Liverpool’s official website.

Now reports in Italy, clearly fixating on Klopp’s comment about Martinez, claim the Reds boss is “dreaming of his signing”.

As such, Calciomercato indicates Klopp is talking up Martinez’s abilities ahead of a future transfer swoop.

Klopp loves Inter Milan forward Martinez

Klopp praises Inter Milan striker Martinez as Liverpool draw Inter in UCL R16. Klopp believes the Argentina man could replace Firmino

They claim Klopp has a long-standing interest in the Argentine and was considering a move before their capture of Diogo Jota.

And they state he remains a player of interest to Klopp, who sees him as a long-term replacement for Roberto Firmino.

Martinez has an excellent record in front of goal, scoring 10 times in 15 appearances this season. Taking the goalscoring burden from Lukaku, the Argentine – a previous target for Barcelona – has 59 strikes in total from 153 appearances.

Inter told how to knock Liverpool out

Claudio Ranieri, meanwhile, has told Inter what to do if they are to knock Liverpool out of the Champions League.

Liverpool will be favourites for the two-legged tie. Nevertheless, Hornets boss Ranieri has let loose three things Inter must do to dump the Reds out of Europe.

“It will be a nice game and the result is not obvious,” Watford boss Ranieri said.

“Liverpool are really strong, but you can see Inzaghi’s hands at Inter. He has inherited a winning team from [Antonio] Conte and it was legitimate to have some doubts after Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi’s sales, but Inter go really fast now.”

On what approach Inter should take, Ranieri said: “Liverpool and Manchester City are the best teams in England. That’s even if Chelsea are currently on the same level.

“First of all, they must face both games with determination and without inferiority complex. Never take anything for granted in football.

“Second, they must limit errors. Mistakes can be crucial in Champions League, especially against big clubs. There are moments on the pitch when you have positive or negative feelings. They must listen to them and act accordingly.”

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