Liverpool ease through to Champions League group stage with second-leg win over Hoffenheim
Liverpool have booked their place in the Champions League group stage after a 4-2 win over Hoffenheim.
Two goals from Emre Can led Liverpool to a 6-3 aggregate win after their 2-1 first-leg victory last week.
Liverpool started strongly and Mohamed Salah headed over from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s free kick.
With their next attack, Sadio Mane was put through one-on-one but Oliver Baumann made the save.
The Reds took the lead in the 10th minute. Roberto Firmino found Mane inside the area who backheeled the ball off to Can to finish into the bottom corner.
A second came just eight minutes later to put Liverpool 4-1 up on aggregate. Georginio Wijnaldum’s shot crashed off the post but Salah was on hand to tuck the ball in from close range.
It was 3-0 after 20 minutes when Can added his second goal of the night. This time, Mane found Firmino with another backheel and the Brazilian played the ball to the far post for Can to finish.
Serge Gnabry should have pulled a goal back but missed from close range. The Bundesliga side did score with their next attack though. Mark Uth received Sandro Wagner’s pass before striking low past Simon Mignolet.
Can nearly completed his hat-trick on the verge of half time but his curling shot went just wide of the left post.
Uth nearly pulled back another goal in the 44th minute after being put through by Gnabry but this time Mignolet kept it out.
Wijnaldum should have scored Liverpool’s fourth but he blazed over the bar after combining with Salah. Mane was then denied by Baumann before the goalkeeper saved another Wijnaldum shot.
The fourth did come on the hour mark though when Jordan Henderson intercepted a poor Kerem Demirbay pass. He played the ball across the box to Firmino who finished into an empty net.
Demirbay came close to scoring Hoffenheim’s second but his powerful shot was kept out by Mignolet.
Hoffenheim did score a second 12 minutes from time though. Andrej Kramaric cut in from the left and crossed to Wagner who rose to head past Mignolet.
Firmino hit the side netting in the closing stages before the final whistle was blown.