Liverpool moved into the group stage of the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League competition after defeating Hoffenheim by four-goals-to-two in the second-leg encounter of their Champions League play-off at Anfield. The Reds ended both legs of the matches with a six-three-goal aggregate, having won by two-goals-to-one in the previous game in German.
Liverpool were the dominant side in both halves of the game, though Hoffenheim constantly troubled the home side from the left flank where Serge Gnabry operated.
Liverpool’s attacking line comprised of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohammed Salah ran Hoffenheim’s defenders ragged in the first half of the match.
Sadio Mane tore Hoffenheim’s defense line apart with his movements, lightning speed and excellent combination play with his team mates.
Mohammed Salah gave many ball away cheaply; the Egyptian player, as it seems , needs to bulk up his muscles so that opponents’ defenders would not easily shake him off the ball.
Salah’s shot in the seventh minute of the game was deflected out of play for what could have been Liverpool’s opener.
Emre Can scored Liverpool’s first goal of the match. The German international ,after receiving a back-heel pass from Mane, raced with the ball into the eighteen yard box from the left flank and his final shot took a slight deflection from the opponent’s defender as it flew into the net.
Liverpool were in complete control of the mid-field; and Georgino Wijnaldum, who has struggled since the season started, was in his elements as he bossed proceedings from the mid-field with his link-up play, interceptions and precise passes.
Mohammed Salah scored Liverpool’s second goal. The Egyptian winger was in an unmarked position when a Georgino Wijnaldum’s shot ricocheted off the goalpost to his front, and he simply tucked the ball into the net.
Hoffenheim’s players made recourse to a physical play that led to two of their players receiving the yellow card in the first half.
Emre Can scored Liverpool’s third goal in the twentieth minute of the game. The build-up to the goal started from the left-side of the eighteen yard from where Mane’s back-heel pass allowed Firmino to race with the ball into the opponent’s eighteen yard box, from there he sent a across to Emre Can positioned at the other end of the goalpost, who smashed the ball with his left foot into the net.
Oliver Baumann pulled a breathtaking save in the thirty sixth minute of the game. Firmino, from inside the eighteen yard box, fired the ball from a Salah’s pass towards Hoffenheim’s goalpost but Baumann out-stretched leg deflected the ball away from danger.
Hoffenheim’s second half substitute, Mark Uth, scored his side’s first goal when he latched onto a pass inside Liverpool’s eighteen yard and beat Simon Mignolet with his curling low shot. Uth was also the player who scored Hoffenheim’s lone goal in the first leg of the play-off.
The second half resumed, and the Red continued to attack their opponents with unremitting energy.
Twice, Oliver Baumann made two saves from Wijnaldum’s shots at goalpost from inside his penalty box.
A poor clearance from Hoffenheim’s central defender, Kevin Vogt, led to Liverpool’s fourth goal. Jordan Henderson charged at Vogt deep inside his own half and succeeded in playing the ball out of his feet; he then raced into the opponent’s eighteen yard box and sent a pass to an on-rushing Firmino who hit the ball into the far corner of the net.
Sandro Wagner scored Hoffenheim’s second goal of the match in the seventy ninth minute of the game.He headed an Andrej Kramaric’s cross from the right-side of the eighteen yard box into the net to make the score four-two.
Liverpool with this victory proved to all that watched the match that they have more quality than their German opponent. The Reds will have to wait till tomorrow to know the group they would placed in the next stage of the competition.