Inter Milan manager Simone Inzaghi hailed Liverpool as one of top sides in Europe but believes his team had the quality to match them in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie at the San Siro on Wednesday.

Inter, European champions in 2010, is playing its first knockout tie in a decade after finishing second in its group behind Real Madrid.

"Liverpool are one of the best teams in Europe, but our players deserve to play these kinds of games," Inzaghi told reporters on Tuesday.

"We haven't played in the round of 16 for many years and although it will be very difficult, we'll try to make it.

"On paper, Liverpool are the favourites, but games must be played. I'll ask the players to go on the pitch and play our football with a free mind, showing our ideas. Determination will make the difference."

Inzaghi singled out Liverpool's counter-attacking threat and praised the play making qualities of full backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson.

Inter, second in the Serie A standings, has collected one point from their last two league games.

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"I am not satisfied with the results, I didn't expect them," Inzaghi said. "But I think we played two great games against two great teams (AC Milan and Napoli) who, along with Juventus, will be title challengers."

Edin Dzeko is expected to start up front along with Alexis Sanchez and Lautaro Martinez.

"We've played many games recently. We have two training sessions left, one striker will be introduced as a sub. I'll make a final decision today or tomorrow. I always try to rotate them," Inzaghi said.