A scintillating 4-2 second leg play-off victory over Hoffenheim books Liverpool’s place in the Champions League group stage…
Liverpool are back where they belong for only the second time in eight seasons; competing amongst Europe’s elite for a trophy forever entwined with their glorious past.
On the evidence of Wednesday night’s 4-2 win over Hoffenheim at Anfield, which secured a 6-3 aggregate play-off victory, they have the ability to do some serious damage too when the Champions League proper begins next month.
In a thrilling end-to-end encounter the Reds stormed into a 3-0 lead on the night through an Emre Can double and a first home goal for summer signing Mohamed Salah.
Can’s second, which made it 3-0, was the pick of the trio as the German combined with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané to put an emphatic finishing touch on a wonderful, flowing team move.
As great as they were going forward however, Jürgen Klopp‘s men had their usual struggles at the back and it contributed to an enthralling, end-to-end spectacle.
Hoffenheim substitute Mark Uth, introduced after just 24 minutes in a tactical reshuffle, pulled one back shortly before the half hour mark, as did Sandro Wagner with a simple header in the closing stages.
By that time the impressive Firmino, playing against his former club, had restored Liverpool’s three-goal lead following some great pressing from Reds captain Jordan Henderson.
Summarising the game at the full-time whistle, an understandably delighted Klopp remarked: “It’s all that the club, the team, we worked for in the last 14 months.
“I know you will always find a few people who will say ‘It’s just the Champions League or only the Champions League.’ But we wanted to be part of it with all we have.
“I saw the boys play a few pieces of outstanding football. How it is in a game like this, especially against an opponent like Hoffenheim, you also have a few problems. That’s how it is. But I’m really happy about the deserved qualification for the group stage.”
Liverpool will learn their group stage opponents when the draw is made in Switzerland on Thursday at 5pm BST.
So that’s what both us and Klopp thought about the game, how about you? Let us know your views below…
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