After beating Hoffenheim at the Rhein-Neckar Arena last Tuesday, the Reds have to finish the job at Anfield to secure their place in the Champions League group stage.
Since Liverpool’s unsettling opening game of the season against Watford, they have picked up their form having beaten Hoffenheim in the first-leg Champions League play-off and also taking three points from Crystal Palace on the weekend and they will hope to finish the job of securing Champions League on Wednesday night.
After a magnificent goal from Trent Alexander-Arnold and a deflection off Havard Nordtveit gave the Reds an advantage of two away goals, Jürgen Klopp’s side will hope to perform better at home.
Last week, Hoffenheim were on the front foot from the off and had the chance to lead through a penalty just 11 minutes into the game, but fortunately Mignolet denied them the chance and that was just a sign of what was to come for the Germans. Hoffenheim got one back just three minutes from the whistle, though that wasn’t enough to give them a boost before their trip to Liverpool.
It’s all down to Liverpool to just keep their cool and ensure that they take the lead early on. They have yet to lose to a German side at Anfield so if that record is anything to go by, the Reds have it in the bag.
The one-goal advantage means that the Reds can afford to play defensively and so will be content with counter-attacking. The longer Hoffenheim go without scoring, the more pressure they will feel to push more men up the pitch and so Liverpool, with the pace they possess, could easily grab a goal on the counter.
The Reds will still be without long-term absentee Adam Lallana, and Nathaniel Clyne and Philippe Coutinho also remain doubtful through injury, with the latter’s hopes of joining Barcelona this summer having fallen through with Liverpool holding the power and keeping a firm stance on their desire to keep the Brazilian for the most important season yet.
I’m hoping to see Ragnar Klavan come in to replace Dejan Lovren at centre-back and Andy Robertson at left-back as the two looked strong on the weekend and will be needed if Liverpool play more defensively.
It will be interesting to see if Klopp gives Dominic Solanke a chance to experience a Champions League game on Wednesday, after the 19-year-old played an important part in Liverpool’s winning goal on Saturday.
I am going for a 2-0 Liverpool win tomorrow night, under the floodlights at Anfield with the Kop roaring, I have no doubt that they can comfortably secure their place in the Champions League. That would mean a 4-1 aggregate win for Liverpool, a nice lead to provide them a boost for the Premier League on the weekend as well.
Nothing comes close to a European night at Anfield, but in particular Champions League nights. I get goosebumps at the thought of those nights returning to Anfield, the Champions League anthem playing as the players prepare for an exciting game ahead in front of a sell-out stadium.
Come on you Reds!!