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Five of the best players to play for both Liverpool and Inter Milan

Liverpool and Inter Milan meet in the Champions League on Tuesday evening, a clash between two of European football’s most prestigious clubs.

It’s advantage Liverpool ahead of the return tie at Anfield this week, though the Italian champions will arrive on Merseyside with ambitions of overturning the 2-0 deficit.

Despite their respective status as two of Europe’s biggest clubs, there has been just a select few players who have been fortunate enough to represent both clubs.

 

Ahead of their Champions League clash, we look at five of the best players to have played for both Liverpool and Inter Milan.

Paul Ince

Ince became the first name to have represented both clubs, after returning to the Premier League to sign for Liverpool from Inter Milan in 1997.

The former England international had emerged from West Ham’s academy system before signing for Manchester United in the late eighties, becoming a key figure as the Red Devils became England’s dominant force during the early seasons of the Premier League.

Ince made 281 appearances for United and won two league titles among his six major honours, before leaving English football to sign for Inter Milan.

He spent two seasons at the San Siro and became a popular figure with Nerazzurri supporters, scoring 10 goals in all competitions as Inter reached the UEFA Cup final in 1997.

Ince returned to England to sign for Liverpool in a controversial deal given his previous allegiances and made 81 appearances in all competitions across his two seasons at Anfield, before moving on to Middlesbrough following a fall-out with Gerard Houllier.

Robbie Keane

Inter Milan secured the services of Robbie Keane in a £13m deal in 2000, signing the teenager following his impressive first season in the Premier League with Coventry.

Keane’s time in Italy proved frustrating, however, scoring just three goals in 14 appearances during a time in which he counted Christian Vieri, Alvaro Recoba, Hakan Şükür, Iván Zamorano and the injured Ronaldo among his teammates and rivals for a forward role.

Keane spent just six months with Inter before returning to the Premier League on loan at Leeds, later signing permanently before moving on to Tottenham amid the west Yorkshire side’s financial crisis.

The Irishman scored 107 goals across six seasons with Spurs, performances which earned Keane a £19m move to Liverpool as Rafael Benitez sought a partner for Fernando Torres.

Keane’s time with Liverpool followed a similar path to his period with Inter Milan, however, lasting just six months before returning to Spurs in a cut-price deal.

He scored seven goals in 28 appearances for the Reds, but proved an awkward fit given the partnership of Steven Gerrard and Torres at Anfield.

Mario Balotelli

Mario Balotelli was viewed as one of the world’s most exciting young talents following his exciting emergence at Inter Milan, but his career has been one that has lacked consistency despite some unforgettable moments both on and off the pitch.

Balotelli scored 28 goals in 86 appearances for Inter Milan, though Jose Mourinho’s frustrations with the forward saw him sold to Manchester City in a deal worth £20m.

Reunited with former Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini at the Etihad, he scored 30 goals across three seasons and won the Premier League in 2011/12, a season which included two goals in the club’s famous 6-1 thrashing of Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Balotelli returned to Italy with AC Milan in 2013 and enjoyed the best period of his career with Rossoneri, scoring 30 goals in just 54 appearances.

That form persuaded Liverpool to gamble £14m on the signing of Balotelli as the Reds sought a replacement for Luis Suarez, but it proved an ill-fated move as he scored just one league goal – a penalty against Tottenham – in 16 appearances before returning to AC Milan.

He has since enjoyed a nomadic career, taking in spells at Nice, Marseille, Brescia, Monza and Adana Demirspor.

Philippe Coutinho

Inter Milan signed Philippe Coutinho as a promising teenage talent from Brazil, sending the midfielder back on loan to Vasco da Gama before another loan spell at Espanyol to aid his development.

Despite his talent, the Brazilian struggled to earn regular opportunities during his time in Italy, making just 47 appearances in all competitions across three seasons at the San Siro.

Liverpool took a chance on Coutinho and sealed an £8.5m deal for his services in 2011, a deal which represented superb business for the Reds as he developed into one of the Premier League’s best creative talents.

Coutinho made 201 appearances in all competitions and scored 54 goals, forging a reputation for spectacular strikes from distance as he became a firm fans’ favourite at Anfield.

That status diminished as he agitated for a move to Barcelona, eventually signing for the Spanish side in a deal worth up to £142m – the third-highest transfer fee in football history.

His time with Barcelona proved frustrating despite two league titles wins, whilst he also won a Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League treble while on loan at Bayern Munich in 2019/20.

Coutinho is currently on loan at Aston Villa, working under former Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard as he bids to get his career back on track.

Xherdan Shaqiri

Shaqiri signed for Inter Milan from Bayern Munich in search of regular first-team football in 2015, having grown frustrated with his squad role despite winning three Bundesliga titles.

It proved a disappointing move for the Switzerland international, however, as he scored just one league goal across six months before signing for Stoke in a surprise deal.

Shaqiri impressed across three seasons after becoming the Potters’ record signing, though departed for Liverpool following Stoke’s relegation to the Championship in 2018.

He enjoyed some bright moments despite a sporadic role with the Reds – including a double off the bench against Manchester United – and won the Premier League, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup.

However, he made just 18 league starts across three seasons and signed for Lyon in 2021, before moving on to MLS side Chicago Fire after just six months in Ligue 1.

Read – Iconic Duos: The Fantasista and The Predator, Del Piero & Inzaghi

Read Also – Heroes and Villains: Premier League Gameweek 28

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