Jurgen Klopp chose to stick with the team that won in 2-1 last week in Germany, while Julian Nagelsmann brought in Dennis Geiger and Havard Nordveit. Serge Gnabry had the first real chance when inexplicably missing the target and that error appeared to usher in a devastating spell from the Reds. First, Emre Can fired home a deflected effort after fine play from Sadio Mane and then it was Mohamed Salah’s turn, following up well when Georginio Wijnaldum had hit the post.
Roberto Firmino’s movement was key in the build-up to both goals and he again played a key role in the third, drifting wide to pick up Mane’s clever back heel and Can was again there to finish off the Brazilian’s cross to make it three goals inside 10 minutes. That prompted Nagelsmann into a change and the decision to introduce last week’s goalscorer, Mark Uth, paid dividends immediately when he grabbed on back with a brilliant right-footed finish.
All this came before the half hour and although the game far from cooled before the break, the goalmouth action temporarily ceased. In truth, things could have been much worse for Hoffenheim if goalkeeper Oliver Baumann had not been in such good form but even he could not prevent a fourth. After all his hard work, Firmino finally got the goal he deserved against his former club, passing home following a clever interception by Jordan Henderson just after the hour. Hoffenheim did not give up though, grabbing a consolation through Sandro Wagner, who headed home with 11 minutes left.
However, that was the end of the scoring as Liverpool saw out a 4-2 win on the night, making it 6-3 on aggregate and it will be they who go through to Thursday’s draw.