Liverpool 4-2 Hoffenheim (6-3 agg): Reds ease into Champions League group stages
Last Updated: 24/08/17 7:43am
Liverpool secured their place in the Champions League group stages with a thumping 4-2 win over Hoffenheim to progress 6-3 on aggregate.
Holding a 2-1 advantage from the first leg in Germany, Liverpool answered the call from a raucous Anfield crowd by racing into a 3-0 lead inside 21 minutes.
Emre Can bagged his first brace for the club which sandwiched a Mohamed Salah strike.
Roberto Firmino added gloss to the comfortable victory in the second half while the Germans, who created plenty of openings, netted through Mark Uth and Sandro Wagner.
Liverpool will find out their opponents in Europe's elite competition at 5pm on Thursday.
Liverpool: Mignolet (6), Alexander-Arnold (7), Matip (6), Lovren (6), Moreno (5), Henderson (7), Can (9), Wijnaldum (8), Mane (9), Salah (8), Firmino (8)
Subs: Milner (6), Klavan (6)
Hoffenheim: Baumann (8), Nordtveit (5), Vogt (4), Hübner (6), Kaderabek (5), Zuber (6), Geiger (6), Gnabry (7), Demirbay (7), Kramaric (6), Wagner (7)
Subs: Uth (7), Szalaiat (6), Toljan (6)
Man of the match: Emre Can
It was clear from the way Liverpool pressed on early with Sadio Mane and Salah, that Jurgen Klopp had called for an energetic start. His team had the game wrapped up with just 21 minutes on the clock after a pulsating period of attacking play that showed there could well be life without Phillipe Coutinho if they are to let him leave for Barcelona.
Can was released through by a wonderful back-heel on 11 minutes and fired home before Salah headed past Oliver Baumann seven minutes later.
Hoffenheim continued to play with a high line, which made it easy for Liverpool to create openings. Firmino raced down the left on 21 minutes and put a cross on a plate for Can to hammer home.
Jurgen Klopp decided to keep the same team that won the first-leg in Germany, but made five changes from their win over Crystal Palace on Saturday with Alberto Moreno, Dejan Lovren, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah and Emre Can returning. Hoffenheim made two changes from the first leg with Dennis Geiger and Havard Nordtveit replacing Lukas Rupp and Ermin Bicakcic.
Julian Nagelsmann was forced to changed his system and sent on Uth, who took just four minutes to make an impact as he fired past Simon Mignolet on 29 minutes.
Liverpool added to their tally when Jordan Henderson powered through a tackle with Kevin Vogt and powered on towards the box just after the hour before sliding in Firmino, who couldn't miss.
Hoffenheim grabbed another consolation when former Leicester forward Andrej Kramaric teed up a header for Wagner.
The scoreline ensured Liverpool's place in the group stages for the first time since 2014-15.
Man of the match: Emre Can
Grabbed the all-important opening goal and his clever movement in forward areas caused the Germans plenty of problems - as identified by his second goal. Mane ran him very close after another outstanding performance.
- Liverpool have scored 3+ goals in consecutive European home games (inc. qualifiers) for the first time since March 1997.
- The Reds have now won six successive European games at Anfield (inc. qualifiers) against German opposition.
- Klopp has overseen seven European games (inc. qualifiers) as Liverpool manager at Anfield, with the Reds winning each of the last six; their best run since November 2010 (eight successive wins).
- Can has scored 2+ goals in a game for the first time in his professional career.
- Mane has been directly involved in 15 goals in his 17 appearances at Anfield for Liverpool (10 goals, 5 assists).
Liverpool will look to maintain their 100% record at Anfield this season on Super Sunday when Arsenal come to town. Watch live on Sky Sports Premier League from 3.30pm.