Aug 23, 2017 at 7.45pm UK at ​Anfield
Attendance: 51,808
Can (10', 21'), Salah (18'), Firmino (63')
Henderson (45')
FT(HT: 3-1)
Uth (28'), Wagner (79')
Geiger (30'), Kaderabek (37'), Vogt (51'), Hubner (92')

Live Commentary: Liverpool 4-2 Hoffenheim (6-3 on aggregate) - as it happened

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp serves up some side-eye on September 24, 2016
© SilverHub
Relive Sports Mole's live commentary of the second leg of the Champions League playoff between Liverpool and Hoffenheim from Anfield.

Liverpool booked their spot in the group stages of the 2017-18 Champions League after beating Hoffenheim 4-2 in the second leg of their playoff clash at Anfield on Wednesday night.

The Reds entered the match as the favourites to advance after recording a 2-1 victory in the first leg last week, and four more goals in the return fixture saw the five-time European champions advance courtesy of a 6-3 success.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.

6.46pmEvening all! Sports Mole's live Champions League coverage continues from Anfield as Liverpool welcome Hoffenheim for the second leg of their playoff fixture. Liverpool will take a narrow lead into tonight's match after a 2-1 victory in the first leg last week. Can the Reds complete the job on home soil? Stay tuned to find out in our live minute-by-minute coverage of the action!

6.49pmLast week was actually the first time that Liverpool and Hoffenheim had met in European competition. Trent Alexander-Arnold opened the scoring in the 35th minute, before an own goal from Havard Nordtveit saw the Premier League side move 2-0 ahead in Germany. A late effort from Mark Uth, however, has given the Bundesliga side hope ahead of the second leg on Merseyside.

6.52pmRight, without further ado, let me bring you up-to-speed with the all-important team news from Anfield. Has Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp made any changes from the Premier League win over Crystal Palace at the weekend? Let's run through the two XIs for this European tie...

A hooded Jurgen Klopp looking shifty during the Premier League game between West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool on April 16, 2017© SilverHub


LIVERPOOL: Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Lovren, Moreno; Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum; Mane, Salah, Firmino

HOFFENHEIM: Baumann; Nordtveit, Vogt, Hubner; Kaderabek, Geiger, Demirbay, Zuber; Kramaric, Wagner, Gnabry

6.58pmLiverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has named an unchanged team from the first leg in Germany last week, which means that there are recalls for Mohamed Salah, Dejan Lovren, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alberto Moreno and Emre Can following Saturday's win over Crystal Palace in the Premier League. Daniel Sturridge and James Milner are among those to drop to the home side's bench.

7.02pmAs for Hoffenheim, there is a start for former Leicester City striker Andrej Kramaric, but Sandro Wagner and Serge Gnabry both keep their positions in the team as head coach Julian Nagelsmann selects an attacking 3-4-3. Mark Uth, who scored in the first leg, starts on the bench once again.


7.08pmSo there we have it. The two teams are in, and we are now just about 40 minutes from kickoff on this mild evening in Liverpool. I shall speak about Hoffenheim a little bit later, but let's start with the home side, who as mentioned, recorded a 2-1 victory when they travelled to Germany for the first leg last week. That result has made Klopp's side big favourites to advance tonight.

7.12pmLiverpool's defensive frailties were on show when they opened their new Premier League season with a 3-3 draw at Watford on August 12, but the Reds beat Palace 1-0 on Saturday to move onto four points. This weekend, the Merseyside outfit have a massive game at home to Arsenal in the Premier League, but their sole focus tonight is on making the group stages of the Champions League.

7.15pmThe draw for the group stage of the Champions League will take place in Monaco tomorrow evening, and Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur will all be present when the numbers are drawn. Liverpool should join them, but that late goal for Hoffenheim in the first leg has given the Bundesliga side something to chase ahead of tonight's return fixture.


7.22pmThis is Liverpool's first participation in the Champions League since being eliminated from the group stages during the 2014-15 campaign. The English club, who are five-time European champions, are bidding to reach the group stage of this particular competition for the 10th time overall.

7.25pmThe Reds are actually unbeaten in their last nine home games in Europe, and have won their last five at Anfield. What's more, Liverpool have not lost in their last seven encounters with German opposition, and are yet to suffer defeat in 14 home meetings with Bundesliga opponents in European competition. It must be said that the omens are quite strong for Klopp's side tonight.

7.28pmAs for Hoffenheim, this is the German club's maiden continental campaign after finishing fourth in the Bundesliga last season. Incredibly, Hoffenheim were a fifth division side in 2000, but advanced to the top level of German football in 2008 with the backing of German billionaire Dietmar Hopp.


7.35pmThe German outfit actually finished 15th in the Bundesliga during the 2015-16 campaign, but secured a top-four position last term after losing just four of their 34 league matches. It was an incredible effort from Hoffenheim, and this particular set of players would go down in history if they managed to overcome Liverpool to make the group stage of the Champions League.

7.38pmLike Liverpool, Hoffenheim have also been in domestic action since the first leg last week, with Nagelsmann's team opening their 2017-18 Bundesliga campaign with a 1-0 win over Werder Bremen at the weekend. It was former Leicester City striker Andrej Kramaric that scored the only goal of the match, and the Croatian has earned a spot in the starting XI tonight.

7.42pmHere we go then - both sets of players have joined us on the pitch ahead of kickoff. Once the Champions League tune has been played and the pre-match handshakes have been exchanged, we will be ready to get things underway. Stay tuned for live minute-by-minute coverage of the action.

0 minKICKOFF! Liverpool kick things off at Anfield...

2 min... as expected, there is a terrific atmosphere inside the stadium. Liverpool will be looking for a fast start, but a goal for the Reds does not actually change too much for Hoffenheim, who need to score at least twice tonight. Let's hope for an open and entertaining Champions League fixture.

3 minLiverpool have a free kick just outside the Hoffenheim box as Kaderabek fells Moreno...

3 min... Alexander-Arnold's effort smashes into the wall, and Salah heads over at the far post.

4 minSAVE! Wonderful chance for Liverpool to take the lead as Mane breaks into the Hoffenheim box, but Baumann is on hand to make a really smart save. Quick start from the Reds here.

6 minCan looks to have a problem for Liverpool after going down following a collision.

8 minEnd-to-end football in the early stages of this match, with both teams committing numbers in the final third of the field. Hoffenheim thought that they had a brilliant chance when Wagner slid a low cross into Gnabry, but the German was in an offside position. Dangerous from the visitors there.

10 minPanic inside the Hoffenheim box as Alexander-Arnold delivers a dangerous free kick towards the near post, but the visitors manage to clear their lines. Plenty happening at the moment as both teams continue to show their attacking intent. Knowing my luck, I have just cursed it. Goalless draw?

10 minGOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Hoffenheim (Can)

11 minLiverpool make the breakthrough in the 10th minute of this match as Mane feeds Can inside the Hoffenheim box and, the German's placed effort is deflected past Baumann for 1-0!

14 minHoffenheim are finding it difficult to deal with Liverpool's high press at the moment as the home side continue to force the German outfit into conceding possession. Surely Hoffenheim have to score the next goal if they are to have any hopes of finding a route through this playoff tie.

16 minAs mentioned, the goal for Liverpool does not change too much for Hoffenheim. The German outfit needed to score twice at the start of the match, and that remains the case with 16 minutes played.

18 minJust a few signs that the match is starting to settle after an intense opening 18 minutes. The Hoffenheim supporters are still in wonderful voice as their team look to avoid conceding a second.

18 minGOAL! Liverpool 2-0 Hoffenheim (Salah)

19 minLiverpool score a massive second goal! The move originates down the right as Firmino cuts inside before finding Wijnaldum, who hits the post with a low effort. Salah is first to react, however, and he simply passes the ball into the back of the net. That should be that for this tie.

21 minGOAL! Liverpool 3-0 Hoffenheim (Can)

22 minLiverpool score a quick-fire third here as Can fires home at the far post after a super pick-out from Firmino. Hoffenheim have simply fallen apart, and they are surely now out of the Champions League.

24 minHOFFENHEIM SUB! Uth replaces Nordtveit for the away side.

26 minCHANCE! Super chance for the visitors as Gnabry breaks into the Liverpool box, but the former Arsenal youngster lifts his effort wide of the post. He really should have scored!

28 minGOAL! Liverpool 3-1 Hoffenheim (Uth)

29 minNow then! Hoffenheim are on the scoresheet as Uth finds the bottom corner with a well-placed effort after Wagner had found his teammate in a dangerous area. Not sure about the defending there!

30 minBOOKING! Geiger (Hoffenheim) is booked for a poor tackle on Wijnaldum.

33 minHoffenheim are very exciting to watch going forward, but they just cannot keep the door shut down the other end. It has been a good spell for the visitors over the last five minutes, but Liverpool still lead 5-2 on aggregate. Hoffenheim need another three without conceding to lead this tie.

35 minWhat a first half of football at Anfield! The opening 35 minutes of this match have absolutely flown past. We have been treated to four goals, and a lot of brilliant football. More of the same please.

37 minSAVE! Super goalkeeping from Baumann as the Hoffenheim stopper keeps out a close-range effort from Firmino, who had met a low cross from Salah. That really should have been 4-1.

37 minBOOKING! Kaderabek (Hoffenheim) is booked for a poor tackle on Mane.

39 minGood defending from Matip as the Liverpool centre-back comes across to challenge Gnabry, who had danced past a host of challenges. Gnabry has been dangerous for the visitors tonight.

42 minHalf-chance for Hoffenheim as Gnabry strikes one towards the far post. I am not sure whether it was a shot or a cross, but the ball fizzed just wide of the Liverpool goal. One more for Hoffenheim before the interval, and that would set up a very interesting start to the second period.

42 minCLOSE! Can curls a low effort just wide of the Hoffenheim post!

44 minJust a reminder that the draw for the group stages of the Champions League will take place tomorrow afternoon in Monaco. As it stands, Liverpool will be in the draw alongside fellow Premier League teams Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Manchester City.

45 minSAVE! Mignolet is down to turn Wagner's low effort wide of the post.

45 min+1BOOKING! Henderson (Liverpool) is booked for a poor tackle on Demirbay.

45 min+2HALF-TIME: Liverpool 3-1 Hoffenheim (Liverpool lead 5-2 on aggregate)

8.32pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with Liverpool leading Hoffenheim 3-1 in the second leg of their Champions League playoff. The Reds now have a 5-2 lead in the tie, and it is difficult to imagine Hoffenheim turning things around in the second period. It was a brilliant opening 45 minutes of action at Anfield - four goals, and plenty of opportunities for both teams.

8.37pmSTATISTICS! The two teams actually shaded the first-half possession, but Liverpool had more attempts (12). The home side scored three times from their six attempts on target, while Hoffenheim managed one goal from two attempts on target. Geiger and Kaderabek had their names taken for Hoffenheim, while Henderson went in the book for Liverpool late in the first period.

8.42pmBENCH WATCH! Hoffenheim have already made one change tonight - Uth taking the place of Nordtveit, and the German found the back of the net in the 28th minute. Polanski and Szalai, meanwhile, are available for the visitors in the second period. As for Liverpool, Milner, Solanke and Sturridge are all on the bench tonight. We will see any more changes from either side at the break?

46 minRESTART! Liverpool resume the action here...

47 min... no changes from either side at the interval. However, I suspect that both managers will have alterations in mind as the second period gathers pace. Hoffenheim need at least three more goals.

49 minIt has been a decent start to the second period from Hoffenheim, who have already forced a corner. The away side's supporters remain in fine voice, meanwhile, as they look to inspire their team to what would be a remarkable turnaround. Liverpool would need to collapse.

51 minBOOKING! Vogt (Hoffenheim) is booked for barging Firmino to the deck.

53 minGnabry continues to impress for the visitors as the German dances past a couple of challenges before feeding Wagner, but Liverpool break up the play and are immediately on the counter-attack.

55 minSAVE! Wijnaldum breaks into the Hoffenheim box after a brilliant link with Salah, but Baumann is on hand to make another excellent save. Super work from the stopper once again.

57 minHOFFENHEIM SUB! Szalai replaces Gnabry for the away side.

59 minAnother smart save from Baumann as the Hoffenheim stopper keeps out a strike from Mane.

61 minSAVE! Wonderful from Baumann once again as the German keeps out a strike from Wijnaldum, who had met a low cross from Alexander-Arnold. Baumann brilliant again.

63 minNot much of an atmosphere inside the stadium at the moment as Liverpool keep the ball in a non-threatening position. In truth, this tie ended as a contest when Liverpool scored their third.

63 minGOAL! Liverpool 4-1 Hoffenheim (Firmino)

64 minLiverpool score their fourth of the night as Firmino finds the back of the net with a straightforward finish after Henderson had squared the ball to his teammate inside the Hoffenheim box.

65 minHOFFENHEIM SUB! Toljan replaces Kaderabek for the visitors.

65 minLIVERPOOL SUB! Joe Gomez replaces Alexander-Arnold for Liverpool.

68 minIt has been tough for Hoffenheim tonight, with the German side simply unable to deal with Liverpool's high press. The Reds will be in the draw for the group stages of the Champions League, which takes place in Monaco tomorrow. Officially their spot will be confirmed in about 20 minutes or so.

70 minLIVERPOOL SUB! Milner replaces Can for Liverpool.

72 minThe Hoffenheim supporters remain in fine voice as we approach the final 15 minutes here.

74 minNot an awful lot to report in the last few minutes, with Liverpool more than happy to keep hold of the ball. It has been pretty straightforward for the Reds, who are absolutely breezing through tonight.

76 minAdam Szalai has a half-chance for the visitors after a smart cross from Wagner, but Joel Matip just does enough to make the clearance as Liverpool ease their way to the group stages.

78 minSAVE! Mignolet gets down to keep out a deflected effort from Szalai.

79 minGOAL! Liverpool 4-2 Hoffenheim (Wagner)

80 minHoffenheim have their second of the night as Wagner heads a Kramaric cross into the corner!

82 minIt must be said that the Hoffenheim supporters have been absolutely wonderful tonight.

84 minMoreno misses the crossbar with an effort from distance.

86 minLiverpool look for a fifth as they break down the left with Mane, but Hoffenheim eventually manage to scramble clear. Little under five minutes of normal time remaining at Anfield tonight.

88 minLIVERPOOL SUB! Klavan replaces Mane for the home side.

90 minHoffenheim continue to deliver high balls into the Liverpool box, but Klavan is the latest player to head clear as we head for the final stages of this match. The Reds are in the group stages.

90 min+1BOOKING! Hubner (Hoffenheim) is booked for a poor tackle on Salah.

90 min+2We are into the second of three additional minutes at the end of the 90 here.

90 min+4FULL-TIME: Liverpool 4-2 Hoffenheim (Liverpool win 6-3 on aggregate)

9.36pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the second period to a close with Liverpool booking their spot in the group stage of the Champions League courtesy of a 6-3 aggregate victory over Hoffenheim. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action once again. Until next time!

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp before the match against Arsenal on March 4, 2017
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