Round one to the Reds

Liverpool edged their Champions League play-off round first leg tie away to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 2-1 despite a nervy defensive display.

Hoffenheim 1 Liverpool 2
Kramaric's 12th' penalty is saved
Alexander-Arnold with a superb free-kick on 35'
Nordtveit directs a Milner shot in on 74'
Uth pulls a goal back with 87' played

Match summary

Andrej Kramaric saw his weak early penalty saved by Simon Mignolet before young right-back Trent ALexander-Arnold scored a peach of a free-kick to break the deadlock at the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena.

Havard Nordtveit was unlucky to direct a James Milner shot on target in the second half before Mark Uth pulled a goal back for Hoffenheim in the dying minutes of this match.

Full report

Liverpool started knocking the ball around well but Hoffenheim threatened first with Joel Matip forced to deflect the ball off the toe of Serge Gnabry in front of goal.

After a wasted cross from Sadio Mane, the home side were awarded a penalty after the additional assistant referee adjudged Dejan Lovren to have upended Gnabry into the box following a clumsy tackle.

Kramaric, however, placed a woefully taken spot-kick straight down the throat of Reds goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who hardly moved to make the stop.

Mohamed Salah then found himself one-on-one with home stopper Oliver Baumann, on 15 minutes, after a swift break forward, but he placed his shot wide.

Pavel Kaderabek did well to get a shot away as he connected to a good Kerem Demirbay delivery on 27 minutes in an increasingly open game while Baumann got down quickly to save at his near post after a poor clearance had dropped for Alexander-Arnold, but he lashed his shot straight at the keeper.

But it was in the 35th minute when the young right-back really announced himself on the game with a fantastic free-kick that flew over the wall and into the bottom corner of Baumann's goal.

Hoffenheim ended the first half strongly, with two good chances after some poor defending from Liverpool, with Gnabry getting the better of Alberto Moreno before fizzing a good shot at Mignolet. The loose ball then dropped to Sandro Wagner who fired his shot against a post.

Liverpool though so nearly went into the break two goals up after a Lovren header across the face of goal flew inches wide with Baumann well beaten.

The home side where quickly out of the blocks after the break although Roberto Firmino really should have scored on 47 minutes when he was fed a good cross from Mane from the left, but he only succeeded in picking out Baumann.

Gnabry blazed a first-time shot on 66 minutes well over after some good work from Kramaric as Salah saw his 70th minute drive turned behind by a busy home keeper.

Milner, only just on for Jordan Henderson, then finished off a piece of quick thinking from Liverpool, after a quick free-kick, with a superb curling shot – that was awarded to Nordtveit – as it seemingly squired off the defender's chest, taking it up and over Baumann. It appeared as if the set-piece was taken from the wrong place though and with the ball still rolling.

Liverpool were very much on top after the goal, with Hoffenheim's next real chance arriving on 82 minutes when Nadiem Amiri smashed a shot at Mignolet after the ball was headed down to him on the edge of the box.

Mane sliced an 84th minute shot wide before substitute Uth pulled a goal back with three minutes to play having replaced Gnabry. The striker controlled a ball well on his chest before drilling in a low shot into the far corner.

Only Benjamin Hubner will know how he headed over a 91st minute free-kick as the tie ended with Liverpool substitute Marko Grujic forcing a final save from the excellent Baumann.

The two teams will square up for the return leg at Anfield is on August 23.

All the results in full:

Qarabag 1 – 0 København

APOEL 2 – 0 Slavia Praha

Young Boys 0 – 1 CSKA Moskva

Hoffenheim 1 – 2 Liverpool

Sporting CP 0 – 0 FCSB

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