18:45 GMT 15 August 2017
Premier League football has returned after a long summer without it and we already know that Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United will be playing Champions League football. But whether Liverpool will join Europe’s elite relies on their play-off tie against German outfit, Hoffenheim. The Bundesliga season hasn’t started as it kicks off next weekend so the first leg of this play-off will be Hoffenheim’s first meaningful fixture of the season. Liverpool travel to Germany for the first leg before hosting the second leg at Anfield next week.
The two sides have never faced each other in European competition. The two-legged affair will be the first time they have met and both teams will be itching to get the first win.
Preparations for the new Bundesliga season have gone very well for Hoffenheim and they have no injuries to worry about after a good pre-season. They will be looking to use this to their advantage. They have signed a few new players while only losing one player that was considered a first-teamer: Niklas Sule to Bayern Munich. They filled that void with the signing with Havard Nordveit from West Ham. Latest matches: 1899 Hoffenheim
Latest matches: 1899 Hoffenheim
The big news coming from Merseyside is the transfer request of Phillipe Coutinho who is forcing through a move to Spanish giants, Barcelona. He looks destined to leave while Virgil van Dijk looks like he will be arriving at Anfield after handing in a request of his own at Southampton. Adam Lallana is unavailable for the game with an injury while Daniel Sturridge and Nathaniel Clyne may both return for the clash.
Latest matches: Liverpool FC
|12.08.2017||Prem||Watford FC||Liverpool FC||3:3||D|
|05.08.2017||Club||Liverpool FC||Athletic Bilbao||3:1||W|
|02.08.2017||Audi||Atletico Madrid||Liverpool FC||6:5||L|
|01.08.2017||Audi||Bayern Munich||Liverpool FC||0:3||W|
|29.07.2017||Club||Hertha BSC||Liverpool FC||0:3||W|
It has all the makings to be a very tight game in this first leg and although Liverpool are slight favourites to go through to the group stages over both legs, a draw is probably the most realistic prediction for the first of the two legs. Liverpool’s defensive frailties will be exploited by Hoffenheim’s fast-moving attack while their attack will be too hot for the German side to handle.
15 August 2017 - 18:45 GMT
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