Liverpool are officially back in the Champions League after defeating Hoffenheim 4-2 on Wednesday night at Anfield, progressing 6-3 on aggregate.
It was an effervescent Liverpool beginning which started when Emre Can gave the Reds an early lead.
Mohamed Salah doubled Liverpool’s lead, which was shortly followed up by another Can goal to see Jurgen Klopp’s side 3-0 up after 21 minutes.
Mark Uth gave Hoffenheim a glimmer of hope when he pulled one back for the away side just before the half hour mark, but Roberto Firmino made sure Liverpool would qualify for the group stage when he scored just beyond the hour mark.
Sandro Wagner scored a consolation goal late in the game, but it was Klopp’s Liverpool who were celebrating come the final whistle.
Huge step forward in Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool tenure
All of last season’s 38 Premier League matches came down to two legs, and Liverpool dealt superbly with the pressure.
There was more anxiety to deal with being on the red side of the tie. Everyone expected Liverpool to progress which adds a weight that some may want to avoid.
But Liverpool found a way and found a way comfortably. There has been far too many years when the Reds have been excluded from Europe’s top competition.
This season though, who knows, with the attacking threat they possess, they could cause an upset or two.
Defensively, Liverpool have until the end of the month to strengthen
It was no real surprise to see Liverpool concede goals in both legs when considering how poor they have been defensively in recent years.
Liverpool’s lack of transfer activity has been worrying and the club has until the end of the month to bring in some reinforcements to strengthen what is a fairly average back four.
Dejan Lovren is the obvious candidate to be replaced in the central positions. He did not help himself by not doing enough to prevent either of Hoffenheim’s goals.
Losing possession before conceding the first and being bullied aerially for the second, teams cannnot be carrying liabilities when trying to win major honours.
It has been proven for a number of seasons that you win nothing without a solid defensive unit, and Liverpool do not possess that.
The end of the month is looming, and now that Champions League football is secured, they need to make something happen.
Hoffenheim too sloppy from the beginning
You have to wonder if the occasion and the Anfield atmosphere got the best of the Germans from the minute they arrived.
Hoffenheim looked well off the pace to begin with and they were punished for that being the case. Being 3-0 down after 21 minutes guaranteed Liverpool’s spot in the group stages.
Chasing the game played right into Liverpool’s hands. Going head to head with Liverpool at Anfield will come with a price.
The Reds exposed a defence that could not deal with the pace of Sadio Mane and Salah. Firmino’s overall intelligence was also on display.
It is not the end of the world for Hoffenheim, but they will leave knowing they have an awful way to go before they can match it with the better sides in the Champions League.