Inter v Genoa: Mancini's side out to reignite title tilt
Inter will look to bounce back quickly from defeat in their first-versus-second clash with Napoli when they host Genoa in Serie A on Saturday.
Roberto Mancini's men were knocked off top spot by Napoli in losing 2-1 at Stadio San Paolo on Monday - a result that ended their four-match winning run in the league and marked just their second Serie A defeat of the season.
But with Napoli not back in action until Sunday, Inter could reclaim pole position, at least temporarily, with victory over struggling Genoa, who sit 15th in the table after a disappointing 2-1 home loss to Carpi last time out.
Mancini is not expected to make a raft of changes in the wake of the Napoli defeat, although he may opt to recall Felipe Melo in order to bolster the centre of midfield and will have to reshuffle his backline given the absence through suspension of Yuto Nagatomo.
In-form Croatian midfielder Ivan Perisic, meanwhile, is expected to recover from a virus in time to feature, and that means Stevan Jovetic may again be forced to settle for a place on the bench.
Striker Mauro Icardi, who continues to be linked with a big-money move away from Inter, is likely to lead the line once again despite his relatively modest return of four Serie A goals this season.
Genoa, meanwhile, are without leading scorer Leonardo Pavoletti due to suspension.
The former Sassuolo man will start a three-match ban having seen red in the defeat against Carpi.
Pavoletti's red card was the seventh received by a Genoa player this season - a record in Europe's top five leagues - and left coach Gian Piero Gasperini exasperated.
"We're always commendable for our effort," he said, "but there have been too many red cards due to stupidity, if we may use that term.
"I find it hard to justify a red card like that."
Pavoletti's absence could mean a start for former Inter forward Goran Pandev.
Key Opta Stats:
- Genoa's last away win against Inter was back in March 1994. Since then there have been six wins for Inter and three draws.
- Inter have scored 16 goals in their last five home league games against Genoa.
- Roberto Mancini's side have scored exactly one goal in 11 of their last 14 league games.
- Inter's Rodrigo Palacio has scored three goals in five league meetings against Genoa, including two in last season's games.