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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 18, 2008

Cruz: Inter have learned from past exits

Inter Milan striker Julio Cruz believes this will be the year his side rediscover their form in the latter stages of the Champions League.

The Italian club travel to Anfield to meet Liverpool tomorrow in buoyant mood after Saturday's 2-0 win over Livorno saw them increase their lead over Roma at the top of Serie A to 11 points.

But Inter, who are seeking a third successive Scudetto, have struggled to show their best form in Europe in recent campaigns.

Roberto Mancini's men were eliminated by Valencia in the first knock-out round last year while the previous season they were ousted by Villarreal in the quarter-finals.

'We have learned from those eliminations,' Cruz said.

'We understand that we have to play to win and do things right, this is the only way to progress to the next round.

'The Champions League is a strange competition.

'There are teams that are considered favourites and then, for example, a team like Liverpool reaches the final twice in three years.

'There must be a reason why Liverpool do better in Europe than in their domestic tournament.'

Cruz, who has two goals in four Champions League appearances this campaign, will partner Inter's top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic in attack against the Reds.

Honduras striker David Suazo, who scored twice against Livorno this weekend, will drop to the bench.

Both players were rested at the weekend and will be ready to take on Liverpool's defence.

Defender Maicon and midfielder Dejan Stankovic are fully recovered from their respective injuries and are also set to play.

Stankovic will anchor Inter's midfield alongside Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso, with former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira likely to be relegated to the bench.

'The ideal situation would be to bring in Vieira when the rhythm of the game drops,' Mancini said.

'Although I fear that at Anfield that will only happen at the end of the game.'

Inter travel to England without midfield duo Luis Jimenez and Cesar, who are both out of action through injury.

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