Liverpool have a vital match away in Germany later tonight as they take on Hoffenheim in the playoffs of the Champions League (KO 19:45).
Liverpool make their seasonal Champions League debut on Tuesday evening when they face a tough trip to Germany to face Hoffenheim, with the Bundesliga not yet begun domestically.
The Reds will be hoping to make the group stages of the competition, but before they even think about that, they have this tough two legged affair to navigate.
Over the course of the two legs, Liverpool are certainly favourites to win the game and should make the next round, but things may not be so easy after Klopp’s side showed worrying defensive frailties in the opening game of this season’s Premier League.
Liverpool were involved in a thrilling 3-3 draw against Watford at the weekend, although that game was drawn because of Liverpool’s inability to defend at corners & set piece.
They continually made mistakes to hand chances to the Hornets, and although a draw was probably a fair reflection of the game on Saturday, it wouldn’t have been close if Liverpool were tighter at the back – there is certainly plenty for Dejan Lovren & Joel Matip to work on.
Jurgen Klopp will be looking to address this before the Hoffenheim game, and perhaps its an area the German will give more attention to when the assumed move of Phillipe Coutinho to Barcelona goes through.
As much as Liverpool would love Coutinho to stay, a case can be made that they will go on to be a better team without him, providing they invest the money he brings in.
Liverpool need to defend much better if they are to find a way through to the group stages of the Champions League, and it would be a disaster if they fall short tonight.
I can see them working hard to pick up a draw later this evening in the away leg, before returning home to finish the job at Anfield.
However, if they are to do that then the Reds will need to cut out defensive errors, where they looked all at sea.
Of course Roberto Firmino spent over four years with his opponents tonight before a big-money transfer to Anfield, and he is sure to want to impress – the 7/1 on him to find the net first looks appealing.
Klopp’s side are definitely capable of picking up a draw away from home tonight if they can limit the chances Hoffenheim get, before finishing the job at Anfield in the return leg.
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