LIVERPOOL 4-2 Hoffenheim
Liverpool faced their German opponents Hoffenheim again in the second leg of the Champions League qualifier and claimed victory once more over them, this time at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp decided to keep the same team that won the first leg in Germany, but since he’s been playing other squad members in the Premier League fixtures then five changes were made from the winning side which had defeated Crystal Palace on Saturday with Alberto Moreno, Dejan Lovren, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah and Emre Can all returning. It seems we can change the squad about for different competitions (both Premier League and Champions League) and still remain victorious for both after making the varied selections. This shows how strong Liverpool’s whole squad can be. High quality in more than just the same 11 men, over and over. Strength in greater numbers.
Liverpool had already travelled to Germany and won 1-2 against this side. We had a 1 goal lead over them already and two away goals. We wouldn’t just sit back and defend in hopes of using this advantage though, Liverpool took to the pitch at Anfield with eagerness to impress our own fans and score goals for them yet again.
It didn’t take long for Liverpool to take control, with Mané and Salah pressing and moving about the pitch energetically in early efforts to assert dominance and gain further advantage over our European competitors.
Mané was impressive from the beginning, making attempts to both score and provide his teammates with opportunities to score. The first goal would be assisted by a back heel from Mané which gave no indication to Hoffenheim’s defence that Emre Can was about to be given the ball until he had it and was shooting it into the left hand side of the net. Liverpool 1-0 Hoffenheim (3-1 agg)
Only 8 minutes after that while probably still all talking about Can’s goal, the home crowd had more to celebrate when we’d score the second goal of the evening. Firmino ran down the left wing, taking on a Hoffenheim defender until he had space enough to cross. Wijnaldum would be in the middle of the penalty area and first to collect the ball. He’d shoot it but could only hit the right goalpost however this was just enough for Salah to quickly pounce on the rebounded ball from the edge of the 6 yard box and make sure it found it’s way into the net. Liverpool 2-0 Hoffenheim (4-1 agg)
3 minutes later, Liverpool were scoring yet again! Wijnaldum played a very long ball from his own half up into the opposition’s half, finding Mané who would pass it off to Firmino. The Brazilian would release a superb cross from the left wing to accurately find Emre Can who was deep in the right hand side of the penalty area. We’d see Can quickly move into position, getting inside of the 6 yard box and sidefooting the ball in midair to score his second goal of the evening, now increasing the scoreline to Liverpool 3-0 Hoffenheim. (5-1 agg)
7 minutes later, there’d be another goal at Anfield but this time, it wasn’t Liverpool scoring. Hoffenheim’s only goalscorer from the first leg would decide to claim himself another goal against Liverpool, Mark Uth making his name yet again. Alberto Moreno had been marking Uth but a sliding tackle took Moreno away from his man and provided just enough space to let Uth power a shot towards goal, past the Liverpool defender and Simon Mignolet. Liverpool 3-1 Hoffenheim (5-2 agg)
Liverpool didn’t seem very stunned by this, but would at least stop scoring until the 2nd half now. Still 3 goals ahead on Aggregate, we waited until after the break for increasing the scoreline yet again.
Around the 6nd minute, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson closed down Hoffenheim defender Vogt to secure the ball, run past him and picked out Firmino who had been running furiously into the penalty area and he would score against his former club (yes, we signed Firmino from Hoffenheim) to make it Liverpool 4-1 Hoffenheim (6-2 agg).
Henderson really worked hard to make this goal happen, deserving big praise for the way he stole the ball off Hoffenheim’s last defender, made sure he was providing an accurately placed assist for his teammate and unselfishly not trying to score himself when he only had the goalkeeper to beat. Way to go, Hendo!
This would not be the last goal of the game. In the 79th minute, Hoffenheim delivered a beautiful cross which picked out Sandro Wagner with pinpoint accuracy and he headed past Mignolet to make it Liverpool 4-2 Hoffenheim (6-3 agg). With only 11 minutes (and injury time) to be be played after this, the three goal lead would be too much for the German side and Liverpool would claim their victory by the final whistle.
Liverpool will find out who a few of their new opponents in the group stage of Champions League football will be as the draw is made at 5pm on Thursday.
Man of the Match
Emre Can really shone in this game, providing defensive assistance when needed at times, but mostly shining in his attacking abilities. A “brace” (two goals) saw him adding his name to the score sheet twice and he played an important part in starting off the game in the way we wanted to continue from the first leg to the second. Our side could have just sat back and tried to hold the 1 goal advantage we had created in Germany but we didn’t do that. Can saw that we would start over with more goals and end with yet another well deserved victory. Liverpool now qualify for the group stage of the Champions League and Can played a major part in achieving this.
What’s next? Liverpool will face Arsenal at Anfield, where we haven’t lost so far this season. Can our home undefeated streak continue?
Walk on with hope in your hearts, Anfield Family! You’ll Never Walk Alone.
[written by] Stuart Drewery.
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (more than 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.