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Serie A Preview: Inter vs Livorno

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The Nerazzurri look to make it two wins on the trot when they welcome the Amaranto to town on Saturday...

Claudio Villa

Don't look now ladies and gentlemen but Inter is unbeaten in its last four matches heading into an extremely winnable clash against Livorno.

The Nerazzurri are in a confident mood following their 3-0 victory over Udinese and have a golden opportunity to close the gap on their rivals, especially with Napoli and Juventus locking horns on Sunday.

Inter kept its fourth clean sheet of the season last weekend and will look for more of the same albeit with a makeshift defense as injuries begin to take their toll.

However, Ricky Alvarez and Rodrigo Palacio are firing on all cylinders right now and anything less than three points against the Amaranto will be a major disappointment.

Hopefully this one is wrapped up midway through the second half so Javier Zanetti can make his triumphant return from a long injury layoff.

THE VITALS

Date: Saturday, November 9, 2013

Time: 2:45 EST

Venue: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza

Inter Probable Formation: 3-5-1-1: Handanovic; Rolando, Ranocchia, Andreolli; Nagatomo, Taider, Cambiasso, Alvarez, Pereira; Guarin; Palacio

Livorno Probable Formation: 3-5-2: Bardi; Valentini, Emerson, Ceccherini; Schiattarella, Luci, Duncan, Benassi, Mbaye; Paulinho, Emeghara

Unavailable For Duty: Jonathan and Walter Samuel with miss the match after limping off against Udinese last weekend. Mauro Icardi is recovering from successful hernia surgery earlier in the week and will be sidelined for one month. Hugo Campagnaro and Diego Milito are still nursing injuries while Juan Jesus is suspended for picking up one too many yellow cards

Operation Balki The Bolshevik Bartkomous: The objective is to carry over the momentum from last week's emphatic victory and ensure that a string of successful displays culminates in the destruction of Napoli.

Enemy Of The State: I'm a big fan of always including a clause in loan deals that forbids players to feature against the club that owns him. Case in point, four Inter-owned players will likely be on the pitch for Livorno. I just don't dig it at all for a variety of reasons.

Fear Factor: 3: Livorno is as scary as a 5'5", St. Ides-drinking, Limp Bizkit-listening, baggy-pant wearing, slur-swearing, stumbling drunk who confronts you for no apparent reason at all. He manages to throw a couple of wild haymakers in your direction before passing out on the curb in all of his soiled glory. Way more annoying than frightening.

Medal of Honor: Rodrigo Palacio has been a man possessed recently and has carried the scoring load often by himself as the lone attacker. His purple patch will continue as he adds another goal to his season tally.

If Inter Wins: I will invite my German friends Erdinger, Warsteiner and Paulaner over for a celebratory feast.

If Inter Loses: My dinner plans will be canceled and a night of solitude with Jack Daniels will be the only item on the menu.

Likely Outcome: Mazzarri is not fielding his first-choice lineup by any means but still has enough firepower to down lowly Livorno. The good guys run out 3-0 winners.