Liverpool hosts Bundesliga side Hoffenheim in the 2nd leg of their Champions League playoff tie, seeking a place in the group stage.

By 90Min
August 22, 2017

Liverpool host Bundesliga side Hoffenheim in the 2nd leg of their Champions League play-off tie this Wednesday. Liverpool won the first leg 2-1 and as a result hold a one goal advantage as well as two away goals going into the return leg at Anfield.

The first-leg of the Champions League playoff between these two sides will be remembered for a perfectly placed free-kick from Liverpool's teenage right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold and a poor penalty from Hoffenheim forward Andrej Kramaric. With the tie at its halfway point it is possible for either side to make it into the Champions League group stage.

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Hoffenheim won their opening Bundesliga game of the 2017/18 season 1-0 against Werder Bremen thanks to an 84th minute goal from Croatian striker Andrej Kramaric. With all three-points secured combined with a clean sheet in front of their home fans the Hoffenheim players will be going into the 2nd leg on a high. 

Hoffenheim also extended their run of being unbeaten at home following a whole season without a home loss in 2016/17. The Bundesliga side will be hoping to secure a place in the top four again this season, but will firstly be looking to make the most of their 4th-place finish last season by advancing to the Champions League group stage.

Liverpool have had a mixed opening to their 2017/18 Premier League campaign, the Reds will have been hugely disappointed to concede such a late goal against Watford in their 3-3 draw at Vicarage Road. Although Liverpool came from behind twice at 1-0 and 2-1 down, they led the match 3-2 when Watford equalised with virtually the last action of the game. 

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However, Liverpool got their first Premier League win of the season last Saturday with a hard fought 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at Anfield. Sadio Mane scored the winning goal in the 73rd minute to give the Merseyside club much needed momentum ahead of the Champion League playoff 2nd leg. 

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Highly-rated midfield duo Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho will both miss Wednesday evening's game through injury, as speculation continues to surround Coutinho's future.

Liverpool will also be without first-choice right-back Nathaniel Clyne and centre-back Mamadou Sakho who Liverpool will hope to get through the exit door before the transfer window closes. Whilst Hoffenheim have a fully fit squad for the trip to Anfield. 

Lineups

Potential Liverpool Lineup: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Matip, Robertson, Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum, Salah, Mane, Firmino.

Potential Hoffenheim Lineup: Baumann, Kaderabek, Bicakcic, Vogt, Hubner, Zuber, Rupp, Demirbay, Kramaric, Gnabry, Wagner.

Prediction 

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Liverpool can afford to play very defensively due to the fact they are bringing a one-goal lead and two away goals into the second leg. As a result of this Liverpool could afford to even lose the 2nd leg 1-0 and still win the tie on the away goals rule. 

Liverpool will be content with counter-attacking and the longer the game goes on without Hoffenheim scoring the more pressure the Bundesliga side will feel to push more men further up the field. 

With the pace Liverpool poses they could easily grab a goal on the counter, but the Reds' main priority will be keeping a clean-sheet. 

Liverpool 1-0 Hoffenheim (Liverpool 3-1 Hoffenheim on aggregate)

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