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Will home comforts make the difference for Liverpool against Hoffenheim?

| 23.08.2017

The Reds take a one-goal lead into the second leg

It’s still early, but the next 10 days could potentially shape Liverpool’s entire season.

The transfer window closes at the end of the month and their defence in particular still needs to be improved. And Barcelona may return with another huge offer  for Philippe Coutinho.

There’s also the matter of the Champions League play-off second-leg against Hoffenheim on Wednesday.

Victory would secure their place in Europe’s biggest club competition, but defeat could be disastrous.

It may strengthen Philippe Coutinho’s determination to leave for Barcelona.

And it’d be harder to attract new players too.

The Reds won the first leg 2-1 in Germany and they’re 8/13 favourites with Coral to win the second leg. Will they make home advantage count to reach the group stage?

Reds used to be able to rely on Fortess Anfield

Everyone has heard about those special European nights at Anfield and they’ve got an impressive home record in the Champions League.

They’ve only lost eight of 51 games in front of their own fans since the competition began.

Their recent record isn’t quite so good though.

The Premier League side last qualified for the competition in 2014-15 and lost to Real Madrid at Anfield, which is understandable.

Their real failure was struggling against the smaller sides in the group. Basel held Liverpool at home to a draw and Ludogorets were only beaten by an injury-time penalty.

Hoffenheim were arguably the hardest draw that they could have got at this stage and they’ll be very encouraged by Liverpool’s unconvincing defending.

The Merseyside club have struggled to defend set pieces under Jurgen Klopp and Sandro Wagner’s aerial prowess will be a real threat if he starts. Wagner is 12/5 to score anytime with Coral.

Liverpool’s attack should see them through

Hoffenheim’s own style could play into the hands of Jurgen Klopp’s side though.

Liverpool found it hard to break down sides that sat deep last season. Hoffenheim like to get on the ball and play, which can leave space to be exposed on the counter attack.

Despite their issues at the back, the home side can call on plenty of firepower in attack.

You can back Liverpool to Win and Both Teams to Score at 9/5.

Coutinho hasn’t been registered for this game, but Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge have the quality to trouble any back line.

Liverpool have two away goals and there’ll be a great atmosphere at Anfield on Wednesday. As long as there aren’t any major calamities in defence, their name should be in the draw for the group stage.

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Daniel Anwar

Daniel has written about sport for Coral, Squawka, FourFourTwo and the Premier League, among others.