Hoffenheim 1–2 Liverpool: Priceless away victory in Germany

Liverpool earn priceless away victory over Hoffenheim in Champions League play-off first leg.

The Reds walked away from the Rhein-Neckar-Arena with a vital 2–1 victory over Hoffenheim in the Champions League play-off first leg, in what turned out to be an extremely tense affair.

It was Hoffenheim’s first home defeat in about 15 months, as we took one step closer to the Champions League group stage.

The star performer today was none other than Trent Alexander Arnold, who capped his European debut with a superb free-kick to open the scoring.

The youngster was not only threatening going forward, but he was also solid in defence. His positioning was sound and he displayed maturity well beyond his years. Definitely the man of the match for me.

After James Milner’s deflected cross went straight in during the closing stages of the second half, it looked like we would come away with a solid 2 goal cushion going into the second leg. However, substitute Mark Uth’s late strike gave Hoffenheim a lifeline.

Hoffenheim were impressive with their slick passing and played out from the back well. Their football was easy on the eye, and had us on the ropes during the first half.

Things could have turned out differently if not for Simon Mignolet’s heroics throughout the game. He kept out Andrej Kramaric’s early spot kick and spared the Reds’ blushes repeatedly with some fine saves.

Yet again, we looked really shaky at the back, with both Dejan Lovren and Alberto Moreno not having the best of games on the left side of defence.

As expected, our front trio of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mo Salah were dangerous and looked threatening on the counter, although they could not put away their chances. Mo Salah had a glorious opportunity in the first half when he was put through on goal, but could not finish.

All in all, it was a solid performance but as always, there is room for improvement. We countered well and our midfield looked better on the ball today. We did well to contain Hoffenheim’s slick passing from back to front.

For now, it is advantage Liverpool as we have a slender lead to bring back to Anfield. I am looking forward to the second leg next Wednesday, where I hope we will secure our place in the Champions League group stages.