This is a huge game for both sides, as the financial rewards involved in being in the Champions League are absolutely massive. Not only that, Liverpool and Hoffenheim haven’t exactly being regulars at this stage in recent seasons.
The ‘pool also need Champions League football to attract a potential replacement for Barcelona-bound Phillipe Coutinho. Hoffenheim need this to close the gap between themselves and Borrusia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.
The German side are not far off the league’s elite, but without the financial clout of the better sides, they will struggle to close that gap. Liverpool will recognise that finishing fourth in the Premier League last year was given celebration of an achievement which wasn’t yet achieved.
The Reds’ opening game of the Premier League season was exactly what you would expect from them – absolutely brilliant going forward, with huge defensive frailties. It will be hugely encouraging for fans to see Mo Salah hit the ground running and get man of the match.
Meanwhile, it will be still tough for them to see their goalkeeper and defense struggle the same as they did last season. Watford had three goals in that draw and all of them were scored via corners. Klopp’s sides’ system has not yet given them the solidity they need to be realistic challengers. Whether it has given them the steel to qualify for the Champions League proper is a different question.
Erfurt lost to Hoffenheim at the weekend. The Champions League contenders won that game by one goal to nil and didn’t look too impressive in doing so. If they replicate that against Liverpool, then they will not be going into the group stage – The Reds are way better than Erfurt.
However, last year they were incredibly strong and did very well to qualify for the playoffs. They are a good team, but they also lack the consistency to be up there with the best.
The news was dominated with Phillipe Coutinho and Barcelona’s pursuit of him in recent time. The Catalan giants are really trying their hand on getting the Brazilian. They really do see him as the replacement for Neymar, who is PSG’s latest big-money signing.
Who Liverpool will replace him with is an intriguing question. Naby Keita is one possible solution, but his club don’t seem to want to release him. It seems bizarre that Liverpool are going for attacking minded players when their defense is where the real issues lie. Of course, they have tried to pry Virgil Van Djik from Southampton, but they haven’t had any success there.
After working so hard to reach this stage, we just can’t envisage Liverpool letting go of their opportunituy to play Champions League football again. They are priced at 13/10 to get the win with Sky Bet and we reckon they might just have the team to do so.
Considering the challenge of travelling to Germany looking for a win, it really is a tough one, but one we think they can manage. Just about.