The job was half done at Hoffenheim last week, but the Reds were not considering the Bundesliga outfit casually ahead of their second leg of UEFA Champions League playoff fixture at Anfield.
Julian Nagelsmann, the TSG 1899 Hoffenheim gaffer, was upbeat despite losing out their first leg home outing and confident of clinching a win away from home and progress through to the group stages of this prestigious competition. The clash proved to be a free-scoring outing and the home side eventually grabbed a 4-2 win ( 6-3 in aggregate) to achieve their objective.
Hoffenheim were desperate to strike early but left their defense exposed. Liverpool, known for their lethal attacking force, missed a couple of golden opportunities before Emre Can put them ahead with a deflected strike after picking up Sadio Mane’s pass. Mohamed Salah then doubled the lead few minutes later as Mane’s shot struck the woodwork and the Egyptian made no mistake to poke the ball into the back of the net from close range. Liverpool netted their third a couple of minutes later as Roberto Firmino’s sublime cross from the left picked out Emre Can who netted again, this time with a simple tap in. Hoffenheim, on the other end, pulled one back via substitute Mark Uth who scored with a great low strike past Simon Mignolet. Firmino missed one-on-one in closing minutes and the first half ended 3-1 in favor of the hosts.
Liverpool vs Hoffenheim Lineups:
Liverpool: Simon Mignolet, Trent Alexander-Arnold (Joe Gomez 65′), Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren, Alberto Moreno, Jordan Henderson, Emre Can (James Milner 70′), Georginio Wijnaldum, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane (Ragnar Klavan 90’+), Roberto Firmino.
Hoffenheim: Oliver Baumann, Havard Nordtveit (Mark Uth 24′) , Kevin Vogt, Benjamin Hubner, Pavel Kaderabek (Jeremy Toljan 64′), Kerem Demirbay, Denis Geiger, Steven Zuber, Serge Gnabry (Adam Szalai 56′), Andrej Kramaric, Sandro Wagner.
Liverpool vs Hoffenheim Highlights:
Liverpool vs Hoffenheim Match Stats:
|Shots (on Target)||20(9)||9 (4)|
|Fouls conceded (Bookings)||3(1)||13(4)|
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