Champions League

Preview: Hoffenheim v Liverpool

2017-08-15 16:21
Liverpool (Supplied)

Cape Town - Liverpool’s path to the Champions League goes through Germany with a tough clash away to Hoffenheim on Tuesday.

The Reds head to the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena for the first-leg of their play-off tie fresh off their opening-day draw with Watford in the Premier League.

Their ability to find the net is not being doubted after the 3-3 thriller at Vicarage Road, but after dropping points by conceding a late equaliser against the Hornets, a bit more solidity at the back will be needed.

Meanwhile, Hoffenheim have yet to begin their Bundesliga campaign, but started their season with a 1-0 win over third-tier side Rot-Weiß Erfurt in the DFB-Pokal. They will surely have to offer more against the Reds.

The match will see Roberto Firmino face up against his former club, but the real rivalry will be between Reds boss Jurgen Klopp and his opposite number Julian Nagelsmann, who is seen as the next generation of German manager.

"I'm the old horse in the stable and there's a young horse," Klopp said, before also calling Nagelsmann a "big, big, big coaching talent".

Nagelsmann, though, has said that his team are clear underdogs, but he is "no more nervous than in the Bundesliga games".

"We know Liverpool are the favourites in this game," Nagelsmann said, "and we know we must come here and play well if we are going to shock our opponent.

"I don’t know if we need to shock them or shock the English football public. I can only say that our performance will have to be at the very top if we are to do that."

In team news, Reds striker Daniel Sturridge will miss out with a thigh injury, as will want-away playmaker Philippe Coutinho, who apparently has a back injury. Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne will also miss out with thigh and back problems respectively.

Nagelsmann has only one injury concern, with striker Sandro Wagner a doubt after he picked up a niggle in a friendly against Bologna, but they will otherwise be at full strength.


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