Liverpool Just 90 Minutes Away from Champions League Football
Liverpool came away from the Rhein-Nacker Stadion with a 2-1 aggregate lead but it was young defender Trent Alexander Arnold who stole the headlines with a sensational free-kick to give his side the lead. The 18-year-old was praised by his manager following his display in Germany but was rested at the weekend.
The Reds prepared for the second leg with a cagey 1-0 win against Crystal Palace in their first home match of the season, although some senior players such as Mo Salah were rested ahead of the crucial Champions League qualifier on Wednesday, August 23.
All of the top Irish bookmakers have priced the hosts up as odds-on favourites for this clash, with Jurgen Klopp’s men fancied to overcome their Bundesliga opponents on Merseyside.
Hoffenheim manager Julian Nagelsmann praised his side’s effort and felt they were unlucky not to be on level terms going into this second leg. Mark Uth did pull a goal back for the German side to give them a fighting chance in this encounter.
Other key encounters in the Champions League qualifiers include Swiss outfit Young Boys making the journey to face CSKA Moscow and they must bounce back from the disappointment of conceding a sloppy stoppage time own goal which handed the Russian side the initiative.
Elsewhere, it was a frustrating evening for Portuguese giants Sporting Club de Portugal who struggled to break down FCSB at Estadio Jose Alvalade with the match ending goalless. The visitors must start quickly in the second leg if Jorge Jesus’ side wish to progress to the UEFA Champions League group stage.
FC Copenhagen host Qarabag aiming to overturn a narrow 1-0 deficit whilst Slavia Prague host APOEL in the Czech Republic.