Liverpool 2-1 Hoffenheim: Reds one step closer to Champions League group stage

Liverpool has marched a step closer to the Champions League group stage after securing a 2-1 result at Hoffenheim on Tuesday in the opening leg of the playoff round. A wonderful first-half goal by 18-year-old Trent Alexander-Arnold gave the Reds the lead and confidence, and it was a own goal in the 74th minute that saw the visitors register two extremely important away goals. The German hosts got one back through Mark Uth, though Jurgen Klopp's team is still in great shape ahead of next week's second leg at home.

Without want-away midfielder Philippe Coutinho, who wasn't named to the squad, Liverpool put together a quality performance throughout the match and found the breakthrough goal in the 35th minute. On a set piece, just when it looked like Emre Can would take it, the 18-year-old Alexander-Arnold did this:

A sublime hit. But the Reds weren't done. An attempted cross by James Milner in the 74th minute deflected off a defender and into the far corner of the goal:

Hoffenheim's goal in the 87th minute gave the Germans a lifeline, but Liverpool has more than a foot into the group stage with two away goals, which gives Klopp's men a huge edge.

The next leg will be Aug. 23 at Anfield. 

Relive match commentary

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Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Full Bio

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