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Midweek games in Serie A

Inter Milan will attempt to get their title defence back on track when they host rock-bottom Livorno on Wednesday.

The Nerazzurri were held to a 1-1 draw at Palermo on Saturday and have now only won one of their past seven league games to see their lead at the top of the Serie A standings cut to just a solitary point.

The normally outspoken Jose Mourinho has continued his media silence but Inter director Gabriele Oriali, who also reignited the refereeing debate, is confident Inter remain firmly on course for a league, Champions League and Coppa Italia treble.

“We want to win everything,” he said. “We know it’s not easy but we have a competitive squad. If luck helps us and we don’t have injuries there is the possibility to progress in all three competitions. We can complain about some incidents: the referee had a very good game apart from a small fault. (Palermo defender Cesare) Bovo deserved a second yellow and therefore to be sent off. That could have changed the game, but we are used to it. With us the referees always apply the letter of the law.”

Inter are widely expected to see off Livorno, who are bottom of the standings and have only won one game in 2010.
However, they will be fighting for their lives and have held AC Milan, Roma and Juventus to draws recently.

With a crucial match against Roma coming up at the weekend, Inter will have to maintain their focus on Wednesday but will be without Wesley Sneijder, with the Holland international also a doubt for the trip to the capital.

Roma, who are just four points behind Inter, will have to be equally wary to put thoughts of Saturday’s match to the back of their minds when they travel to struggling Bologna.

Second-placed AC Milan missed the chance to go top on Sunday as, a day after Inter’s match, they were held to a 1-1 draw against Napoli. Should Inter slip up again the Rossoneri are unlikely to waste another opportunity when they travel to Parma.

At the other end of the table Siena, boosted by last weekend’s victory over Bologna which saw them crawl off the foot of the table, will be eager to continue the good work when they visit fellow strugglers Lazio – knowing they can close the gap on the capital club, who occupy the last safety position, to just a point.

Meanwhile, the race for fourth spot and the final Champions League place hots up as Genoa host the current occupiers Palermo, who are five points ahead of their hosts.

Fiorentina, a point further back, travel to Catania while Sampdoria – who are level on points with Palermo – visit Bari.
Wednesday’s other game sees Udinese welcome fellow strugglers Chievo.

Juventus are also in the hunt for fourth and need a positive result on Thursday at Napoli to put their dismal run behind them. The Serie A giants have had a week to forget and their 1-0 loss away to Sampdoria completed an unwanted hat-trick after they were dumped out of the Europa League following a 4-1 defeat at Fulham – a humiliation that came shortly after their draw against Siena where they let slip a three-goal advantage.

The Bianconeri are facing another crisis, following an improved run after Alberto Zaccheroni replaced the sacked Ciro Ferrara in January and, in an attempt to put things right, are set to go on a training camp a day earlier ahead of the trip to the Stadio San Paolo. Juve are two points behind Palermo and Samp but Napoli, who are three points further back, will be equally keen to maintain their own Champions League challenge.