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Whichever of Hoffenheim and Liverpool qualify for the Champions League this season they will certainly have earned their place among Europe’s elite. Not only will they provide one another with a very difficult test across two legs but they had to work very hard last season to finish fourth in their respective leagues.
If you believed the bookies’ odds, Hoffenheim came into the last Bundesliga season more likely to be relegated than to confirm European football. However, Julian Nagelsmann worked wonders at the club to take them to fourth, losing just four games all season long. They went the whole season unbeaten at home and even beat eventual champions Bayern Munich at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena.
Liverpool’s fourth place finish was much less of a surprise than Hoffenheim’s but it was no less hard fought. The battle for the Champions League places last season was as tough as it’s ever been in the Premier League and Liverpool had to outlast both Arsenal and Manchester United to claim fourth spot.
Jurgen Klopp was brought to Anfield to bring the glory days back to the club. The board, fans and players are desperate for a strong Champions League campaign in this coming season but for now, Liverpool must turn their attentions fully to getting past Hoffenheim.
Liverpool 7/5 (Coral)
Hoffenheim 9/4 (Betfair)
Draw 5/2 (Sky Bet)
When the draw was made, Liverpool fans would have felt pretty good about their team’s chances. Hoffenheim are not the biggest name left in the draw but when you look at just how strong Nagelsmann’s team are, they may actually represent the sternest test Liverpool could have drawn.
Klopp knows all about the challenges of European football but even he was surprised at just how incredible European nights under the lights at Anfield can be in his first season at the club. Liverpool staged a wonderful comeback win over Borussia Dortmund in 2016 that just added to their storied European history at home and Klopp knows that playing the second leg against Hoffenheim at home gives them a real edge.
That said, Liverpool are likely to have some work still to do come the return leg next week. Hoffenheim’s own quality at home and burning desire to make it through to the Champions League group stages means they will do anything to avoid defeat in Germany. That makes the odds of 9/4 that Betfair are quoting about the home side winning look like very good value to set up a mouth-watering second leg.
Draw 1-1 @ 13/2 (William Hill)
Liverpool 1-0 @ 8/1 (Ladbrokes)
Liverpool 2-1 @ 8/1 (Coral)
Hoffenheim 1-0 @ 11/1 (Bet365)
Hoffenheim 2-1 @ 11/1 (Bet365)
Draw 0-0 @ 12/1 (Sky Bet)
Klopp and the whole Liverpool squad know the value of an away goal in European football. Even if they were to lose Tuesday’s game, it wouldn’t be a disaster providing they score a goal or two. You shouldn’t get carried away about the boost that playing at Anfield but there is no doubt that it helps Liverpool’s chances of making it to the Champions League proper.
Therefore, it could pay to stick with selections that reflect both teams scoring if you are having a play in the Correct Score market.
Hoffenheim had the third best defensive record in the Bundesliga last season and won’t be an easy nut for Liverpool to crack. The loss of both Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho to injury makes Liverpool’s task all the more difficult. So, we recommend a bet on Hoffenheim winning 2-1 which is available at 11/1 with Bet365.
Andrej Kramaric 5/1 (Sky Bet)
Daniel Sturridge 11/2 (Betfair)
Roberto Firmino 11/2 (William Hill)
Sadio Mane 11/2 (Betfair)
Divock Origi 6/1 (Sky Bet)
Dominic Solanke 6/1 (Sky Bet)
Mohamed Salah 6/1 (Betfair)
Serge Gnabry 13/2 (William Hill)
Roberto Firmino is going to have a key role to play for Liverpool this season. Daniel Sturridge’s ongoing injury problems mean that he cannot be relied on to score goals consistently for Liverpool while Philippe Coutinho will be on his way to Barcelona if the little Brazilian gets his way.
Firmino was employed as a striker on multiple occasions by Klopp last season and may well fulfill that role once again against Hoffenheim. He is a quality striker who will pose the German side’s defence all sorts of problems and looks a good bet to score first on Tuesday night at 11/2 with William Hill.
If, however, you’re looking for an option from the home side, Serge Gnabry surely represents value at 13/2 with William Hill. Gnabry caught the eye for Werder Bremen last season and has been snapped up by Bayern Munich. He will be keen to prove what he can do on loan at Hoffenheim and could well open the scoring on Tuesday.
Hoffenheim to win at 9/4 with Betfair
Hoffenheim to win 2-1 at 11/1 with Bet365