Date: 4th August 2017 at 11:52am
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A difficult test lies ahead if Liverpool are to book their place in the Champions League group stage…

Liverpool have been drawn against arguably the best of the five possible opponents they could have faced in the Champions League play-offs.

Jürgen Klopp‘s men will play German side Hoffenheim over two legs, starting at the Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena, where the hosts were unbeaten last term, on Tuesday August 15.

The return leg will take place at Anfield the following week on Wednesday August 23. Both games will kick-off at 7.45pm BST.

Liverpool, who were seeded in the draw which took place on Friday morning at UEFA Headquarters in Nyon, could also have faced Nice, Young Boys, Steaua Bucharest or Istanbul BB.

The Reds have never previously faced Hoffenheim in a competitive fixture.

Like Liverpool, Julian Nagelsmann’s side reached the Champions League play-off round via a 4th placed league finish.

Since then Hoffenheim have lost key players Niklas Süle and Sebastian Rudy to Bundelisga rivals Bayern Munich, although the Bavarians have in turn loaned them ex-Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry for the 2017/18 campaign.

Die Kraichgauer, who recently parted with £8million to sign defensive midfielder Håvard Nordtveit from West Ham United, are backed by billionaire software entrepreneur Dietmar Hopp and were in the German fifth division as recently as 2000.

Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino knows all about the club having spent four seasons with them before moving to Anfield for £29 million in June 2015.

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