Qualification for the Champions League reaches its finale this week as the Playoff Round Second Leg matches take place on Tuesday and Wednesday. Liverpool will host TSG Hoffenheim at Anfield, with Jurgen Klopp’s side the favourites to progress after picking up a 2-1 victory away in Germany. Trent Alexander-Arnold gave Liverpool a lead with a stunning free kick, before Havard Nordtveit turned James Milner’s shot into his own net to give Liverpool a 2-0 advantage. Some of the gloss was taken off the game for Liverpool as Mark Uth scored a late goal for Hoffenheim to keep their hopes alive heading into this weeks second leg, but Klopp will have been delighted with the result.
Liverpool followed up that victory over TSG Hoffenheim with a hard fought 1-0 win against Crystal Palace this Saturday thanks to a second half strike from Sadio Mane. Jurgen Klopp made a number of changes for the game with Joe Gomez, Ragnar Klavan, Andrew Robertson, James Milner and Daniel Sturridge all coming into the starting line up. Robertson was particularly impressive on his debut for the club and had more touches of the ball than any other outfield player on the pitch. Liverpool reportedly rejected a third bid from Barcelona for Philipe Coutinho over the weekend and the club seem determined to hold onto their star man. It will be interesting to see what team Klopp picks on Wednesday night, but you would think that Robertson has done enough to start ahead of Alberto Moreno at left back.
TSG Hoffenheim form
Like Liverpool, TSG Hoffenheim followed up last weeks’ game with a hard fought 1-0 home victory. Former Leicester City striker Andrej Kramaric got the only goal of the game in the 84th minute to hand Hoffenheim an opening day victory in the Bundesliga. Hoffenheim boss Julian Nagelsmann felt his side were the better team in the first leg and indeed, if they had converted their first half penalty and taken the lead, the game could have transpired in a different way.
- Can the Liverpool defence hold firm? They have struggled at times this season, but they will have to be at their best to hold onto Liverpool’s narrow lead.
- Will Andrew Robertson keep his place at left back? The Scot was impressive on debut against Crystal Palace and will be disappointed to lose the spot to Moreno.
- This is the biggest game in Hoffenheim’s history. If they can qualify for the Champions League, it would be absolutely massive for the club.
Liverpool were on the back foot for long periods in the first leg last week, before winning 2-1 and those two away games are massive in this tie. I fancy Liverpool to win again on Wednesday and I wouldn’t be surprised to see another 2-1 score line. Liverpool have one of the best forward lines in Europe and if they click again, then it will be very difficult for Hoffenheim to stop them.
Betting Tips (Ladbrokes)
Liverpool will start the game as favourites at odds of 8/13, whilst the away win for Hoffenheim is 9/2 and the draw is 7/2. A solid bet for any Liverpool game is Liverpool and BTTS – YES and that’s what I’ll be going with on Wednesday. In terms of goal scorers, wing wizards, Sadio Mane and Mo Salah are both 9/2 to open the scoring, whilst a decent outside bet could be Andrej Kramaric FGS at 9/1.