Under Andrea Stramaccioni, Inter were taken near to the very pinnacle of Serie A before falling away in a haze of injuries to finish a lowly 9th, just three seasons after José Mourinho led them to an all-conquering treble. Clearly 9th was never going to satisfy the restless owner Massimo Moratti and unsurprisingly, 'Strama' was axed in favour of Mazzarri, the man who guided Napoli to the Champions League in two out of the past three seasons.
The Mazzarri era got off to the best possible start as Inter's lack of European participation meant they went into the Coppa Italia at the unfamiliar third round, easing to a 4-0 victory over Serie B's Cittadella last Saturday. To anyone who has watched Napoli over the past few seasons, the setup of the side was very familiar, with Mazzarri continuing his legendary tactical consistency by playing the standard 3-4-1-2 we have come to expect. Inter fans will be encouraged to know that Rodrigo Palacio was amongst the goals, grabbing a brace whilst Andrea Ranocchia and Jonathan Cicero provided the others.
Genoa had a disastrous 2012/13 and only the fact that Siena were docked six points pre-season due to a match-fixing scandal saved them from the drop in the end. There seemed to be no cohesion in the side for the entire season, symbolised by the directors going through three different managers in Gigi Di Canio, Gigi Del Neri and Davide Ballardini. Despite Ballardini leading the side to safety, club president Enrico Preziosi wielded the axe once again and promoted youth coach Liverani to the big job, his first senior management position after only two years of coaching.
Genoa also played in the Coppa Italia third round last weekend however their competitive season got off to a less than positive start. Faced with Serie B's Spezia, the Grifone were on the brink of crashing out in normal time before Francesco Lodi's equalising penalty four minutes into injury time. Extra time brought no further goals but the Serie B side managed to triumph in the penalty shootout, emerging 3-2 victors and handing Liverani his first competitive defeat, not a good starting point for the league season ahead.
Inter still have a mild hangover from their injury nightmare of the second half of last season, with Cristian Chivu and the experienced Argentine trio of Walter Samuel, Diego Milito and club captain Javier Zanetti all sidelined with injuries sustained under Stramaccioni. Genoa will be without Giovanni Marchese and Francelino Matuzalém, whilst Davide Biondini is suspended.
Inter Milan injuries and suspensions
Out: Cristian Chivu, Diego Milito, Walter Samuel, Javier Zanetti (injured).
Genoa injuries and suspensions
Out: Giovanni Marchese, Francelino Matuzalém (injured); Davide Biondini (suspended). In doubt: Diego Polenta, Mario Santana.
Inter: Handanovic, Juan Jesus, Campagnaro, Ranocchia, Jonathan, Cambiasso, Guarín, Nagatomo, Álvarez, Palacio, Icardi
Genoa: Perin, Manfredini, Portanova, Antonelli, Strasser, Kucka, Lodi, Vrsaljko, Cofie, Gilardino, Konaté
Match date/time: Sunday 25th August 2013, 6p.m. local, 12 noon ET
Venue: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan
TV: Sky Calcio 1/HD, Sky Supercalcio HD (Italy), beIN Sport Play/en Español (USA), BT Sport 2 (UK)