MX23RW : Wednesday, January 16 13:11:37
Aug 15, 2017 at 7.45pm UK at ​Rhein-Neckar-Arena
Attendance: 25,568
Uth (87')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Alexander-Arnold (35'), Nordtveit (74' og.)

Live Commentary: Hoffenheim 1-2 Liverpool - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live coverage of Liverpool's 2-1 victory over Hoffenheim in the first leg of their Champions League playoff tie.
Live Commentary: Hoffenheim 1-2 Liverpool - as it happened
© SilverHub

Liverpool have recorded a 2-1 victory over Hoffenheim in the first leg of their Champions League playoff tie.

The Premier League side opened the scoring when Trent Alexander-Arnold curled a free kick into the bottom corner from 30 yards, before the lead was doubled when Havard Nordtveit diverted James Milner's cross into his own net.

Mark Uth halved Hoffenheim's deficit during the closing stages, but Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp will be delighted having established an advantage ahead of the second leg at Anfield.

Read below to see how the action unfolded at the Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena.

6.46pmHello, and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the first leg of the Champions League playoff between Hoffenheim and Liverpool.

6.51pmSince the arrival of Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool's objective has been to earn a return to the group stages of the Champions League and after last season's fourth-place finish in the Premier League, the Merseyside giants are just one two-legged tie away from achieving their goal. However, standing in their way is a Hoffenheim side who are on the up under Julian Nagelsmann and this is in no way a formality for Liverpool. Infact, there is an argument for this contest between a 50-50 match-up.

6.54pmOf course, that cannot be side of the size of the two clubs. Liverpool are one of the biggest teams in world football, while Hoffenheim were a relative unknown just a few years ago. However, in terms of recent performances and trajectories, you would have to say that the sides are on level terms. They also finished in fourth place in their respective leagues during the most recent campaign.

6.57pmThere are similarities in how both clubs have dealt with the bigger clubs in England and Germany respectively. Klopp is yet to suffer a defeat to a "top-six" club in league action in the Premier League, while Hoffenheim avoided defeat in both of their games with Bayern Munich last season which, all things considers, is sensational.

6.58pmAnyway, time for some team news. Klopp had decisions to make after their 3-3 draw with Watford at the weekend...

7.00pmHOFFENHEIM XI: Baumann; Zuber, Hubner, Bicakcic, Vogt, Kaderabek; Gnabry, Demirbay, Rupp, Kramaric; Wagner

7.01pmHOFFENHEIM SUBSTITUTES: Kobel, Nordtveit, Toljan, Amiri, Uth, Szalai, Geiger

7.03pmLIVERPOOL XI: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Lovren, Moreno, Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Mane, Salah, Firmino

7.04pmLIVERPOOL SUBSTITUTES: Karius, Klavan, Gomez, Milner, Grujic, Origi, Solanke

7.08pmFirstly, let's take a look at the home side who include names which you may be familiar with. The most notable is likely to be Serge Gnabry, who is now contracted to Bayern Munich but has been allowed to join Hoffenheim on a season-long loan. The winger had spent the early stages of his career with Arsenal. Also in attack is former Leicester City forward Andrej Kramaric, who has been excellent since moving to Germany, while Sandro Wagner - a German international - will lead the line. There is also a place for former West Ham United player Havard Nordtveit on the bench.

7.12pmAs for Liverpool, Klopp has decided to name an unchanged starting lineup from the game with Watford on Saturday. That means that there is no place in the side for James Milner, who has to make do with a role among the replacements with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alberto Moreno operating in the full-back positions. Supporters will already be aware that Nathaniel Clyne, Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge are all absent through injury.

7.15pmThis where we would usually bring up the head-to-head record but of course, these two teams have never faced each other. It is Hoffenheim's first attempt in trying to qualify for the Champions League, while Liverpool will be featuring in their 41st game against German opposition in Europe.

7.21pmWe have deliberately avoided talking about Liverpool's number nine because he deserves a detailed buildup on his return to his former side. Roberto Firmino is known around the world now but that was not the case before he joined Hoffenheim in 2011. It was there where he established himself as one of the best players outside of the top clubs in England and after contributing 41 goals in 144 appearances in four years at the club, the Brazilian earned his transfer to Liverpool. The 25-year-old has since gone on to become one of the Premier League side's key men and there's no doubt that he will be looking to get a goal or two on his first return to his previous employers.

7.25pmFirmino has been joined in the attack by summer signing Mohamed Salah, with Firmino setting up his goal against Watford at the weekend. However, Salah - who has joined from Roma - was not that impressive at Vicarage Road, with shots and crosses being rushed and his usual direct play being easily snuffed out by an average backline. Some will point to the fact that a goal was an acceptable return on his competitive debut for Liverpool, but Klopp will expect more, especially in games of this magnitude.

7.29pmFrom a defensive standpoint, Liverpool were awful against Watford. It has been a while since their defence has been deemed anything better than average and they conceded three poor goals on their travels. Defending set pieces is proving to be a major problem and Hoffenheim are sure to target that aspect of the match tonight.

7.34pmWe have less than 15 minutes until kickoff - where has the time gone?! It means that we best take a quick look at the home side who, as we have already said, have a number of danger men this evening. Wagner, Kramaric and Gnabry are the obvious threats, but Kerem Demirbay is another to watch out for. His form over the past couple of seasons was enough to earn himself a call-up to the Germany squad for the Confederations Cup.

7.37pmPREDICTION! We are going to be honest - we haven't got a clue how this match is going to go. Many will have Liverpool as the favourites but hey are playing a team who never lost in front of their own supporters last season. We are going to go for a tentative prediction of 3-2 to Liverpool, with Firmino proving to be the difference.

7.42pmHere come the two teams to the most welcoming and passionate of atmospheres. This is a massive game for Liverpool, but this is the biggest showdown in Hoffenheim's history. It could be a classic.

1 minLiverpool get us underway.

3 minThere has been lots of early possession for Liverpool and they have the ball in the net through Salah. However, the winger was about a yard offside when making a run to receive a pass from Alexander-Arnold.

6 minWhat a touch this is from Matip. Kramaric does superbly on the right and his cross appears to be heading to Gnabry around 10 yards out. However, the centre-back stretched to take the ball off the winger's foot before Liverpool eventually cleared.

9 minMane has started to come into the game down the left-hand side and at the second attempt, fires a low cross into the penalty area. Baumann does well to deal with it, but it was far from comfortable.


12 minMISS! Lovren is adjudged to have fouled Gnabry - it is a really soft penalty - but Mignolet makes a comfortable save from Kramaric! It is a shocking spot kick.

15 minCHANCE! Liverpool should be ahead. A mistake in the Hoffenheim defence allows a ball to be threaded through to Salah but despite moving into the penalty area, he sent a weak shot wide of the post. What a chance.

18 minLiverpool have started to settle again after that penalty miss from Kramaric but there is no doubting that they should have an away goal to their name. We spoke about Salah needing to show more quality and so far, the Egyptian is not looking value for money.

20 minBit more possession from Hoffenheim now, who have definitely settled into this match themselves. There have been a few signs of nerves but they do not look overawed by the occasion.

24 minSHOT! A lot of Hoffenheim's play is going through Wagner but this is his first shot in anger, one which goes well wide of Mignolet's post. Liverpool can't afford to sit off the frontman like they did there.

28 minSalah gives a foul away in a threatening position and this spells danger for Liverpool. The delivery into the penalty area is a good one but Henderson does well to volley the ball clear with two Hoffenheim players waiting behind him.

31 minLiverpool are starting to live very dangerously at the back. Yo can see why this style of play has won Hoffenheim many results and admirers and they are the better team now. The likes of Lovren and Matip are having to make numerous blocks and interceptions.

33 minWow. Alexander-Arnold charges down a clearance in the penalty area and it almost beats Baumann at his near post. Fortunately for the goalkeeper, he was already in the necessary position to make the save.

34 minBOOKING! Bicakcic goes into the book for a crude challenge on Mane as he attempted to move closer to goal.

35 minGOAL! Hoffenheim 0-1 Liverpool (Alexander-Arnold)

35 minIf I was allowed to swear, I would. Alexander-Arnold pulls rank with the free kick which is 30 yards out but he curls his effort into the bottom corner. Baumann didn't move. It is his first goal in a Liverpool short and what a time to score it!

39 minI am still trying to process this Alexander-Arnold goal. Firmino and Moreno were also contenders for the free kick - it was even more suited to a left-footer - but the youngster produced the most perfect of shots. It's also an away goal for the Premier League side.

42 minBack on planet Earth, Liverpool look hungry for a second but Klopp will likely be stressing the need to not concede, especially so close to the break.

43 minWOODWORK! Unbelievable. How haven't Hoffenheim equalised? Liverpool fail to deal with a long ball and it leads to Gnabry forcing a stunning block from Mignolet. The ball falls to Wagner who scuffs a shot against the post from 20 yards. Big moment.

45 minThere will be one minute of added-on time.

45+2 minHALF TIME: Hoffenheim 0-1 Liverpool

8.33pmThe half-time whistle goes with Liverpool leading 1-0, but they should be two goals to the good. An outswinging corner finds Lovren, but his header towards the bottom corner goes just wide of the post. How is this game still 1-0?! I doubt it it going to stay that way...

46 minHoffenheim get us back underway.

47 minCHANCE! Liverpool should be 2-0 ahead! Mane does brilliantly down the left and supplies Firmino with a chance from no more than six yards out, but his shot goes straight at Baumann. Anywhere else and it is a goal.

49 minGnabry has the ball int the net with a terrific finish at the near post, but he is correctly adjudged to be offside. Still, Liverpool looked shaky in defence there and it will only offer encouragement to Hoffenheim.

51 minCHANCE! Mane is having an excellent game for Liverpool and after moving past a defender and onto his right foot, his low shot towards the far corner is saved by Baumann.

53 minSUBSTITUTIONS! Hoffenheim have made two alterations, with Bicackic and Rupp being replaced by Havard Nordtveit and Nadiem Amiri.

55 minBOOKING! Alexander-Arnold goes into the book for protesting a throw-in not going his way. In all fairness, Liverpool have had a few iffy calls go against them. Can was also booked a few minutes ago.

59 minLiverpool have started to sit a little deep. They could always catch Hoffenheim on the break, but there is no need for the defence to be retreating this close to Mignolet's goal at this stage of the match.

63 minSUBSTITUTION! Interesting change from Klopp. James Milner is being introduced for Henderson, who must be carrying a knock or injury of some sorts, although it is nothing obvious.

66 minInevitably, Liverpool are starting to come under more pressure and Hoffenheim aren't shy with delivering balls into the box. Some important interceptions are being made but there is far too much danger being created by the German side.

66 minCHANCE! This only goes down as a half-chance but Gnabry would expect to hit the target with a half0volley from around 14 yards out. Instead, he blazed over.

71 minCHANCES! Liverpool have had more joy over the past few minutes and they create an opening for Salah. However, instead of crossing, he shoots straight at Baumann. From the resulting corner, Lovren rose above the defence but sent his header straight at the goalkeeper for a second time.

74 minGOAL! Hoffenheim 0-2 Liverpool (Milner)

74 minDreamland for Liverpool! A quick free kick leads to a pass finding its way to Milner. Hoffenheim were outnumbering Liverpool in the middle but it proved irrelevant with Milner's cross being deflected into the top corner by Nordtveit. It will go down as an own goal but Liverpool and Milner won't care in the slightest.

81 minLiverpool will take 2-0 all day long but they continue to search for a third. The Hoffenheim defence looks tired but so far, crosses from the visitors aren't finding their targets. If Klopp's side score another, it is tie over.

82 minCHANCE!How big could this save be? Amiri gets a volley on goal from 12 yards after collecting a knock-down, but Mignolet stands firm to punch the ball away from goal.

84 minSUBSTITUTION! A second change for Liverpool as Dominic Solanke replaces Firmino.

86 minLiverpool still want more goals but they would be wise to take a backwards step now and try to see out this game. They would have taken a score draw, nevermind a two-goal lead.

87 minGOAL! Hoffenheim 1-2 Liverpool (Uth)

87 minNow this gets interesting. Uth beats the offside trap and with Liverpool focused on appealing, the substitute drills a half-volley into the bottom corner from 16 yards. It's an excellent finish and Hoffenheim are back in this tie.

90 minThere will be four minutes of added-on time. Hoffenheim have a free kick...

90+1 minCHANCE! WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY! Huber is found all on his own in the penalty area but he sends a free header over from the crossbar from 10 yards.

90+4 minFULL TIME: Hoffenheim 1-2 Liverpool

9.45pmThe full-time whistle goes in Germany and Liverpool have held on for a priceless win. Trent Alexander-Arnold's stunner and an own goal from Nordtveit has given Klopp's side a great platform to build on in the second leg next week. Uth's goal keeps Hoffenheim in the tie, but they have it all to do at Anfield.

9.46pmThat will be all from Sports Mole for this match. Thank you for joining us this evening and we hope to see you again soon. Goodbye for now.

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Daniel Sturridge opens the scoring during the Premier League game between West Ham United and Liverpool on May 14, 2017
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