A trio of sensational goals highlighted Tuesday evening’s (Wednesday morning AEST) UCL qualifier between Liverpool and Hoffenheim, however, it was the EPL heavyweights that were victorious at the Rhein-Neckar Arena in Germany.
The 2-1 result in favour of the Reds puts them in a strong position ahead of the return leg at Anfield next week as they look to secure a Champions League group stage spot.
Trent Alexander-Arnold stole the show as he became the third youngest player ever to score in Champions League history as his stunning free-kick from 25 yards curled into the bottom corner.
In his ninth start for the club in all competitions, the 18-year-old buried the 35th minute free kick to give the Reds the lead after Simon Mignolet earlier denied the hosts from the penalty spot.
— Footballhiglight13 (@ivailoz1) August 15, 2017
James Milner doubled Liverpool’s lead in the 77th minute with a curling effort into the top corner before Mark Uth found a way past Mignolet six minutes from time.
Liverpool could count themselves lucky to escape Germany with a win after Benjamin Hubner’s free header from a free kick in the first minute of added time went narrowly over the crossbar.
However it was Alexander-Arnold’s night, with the teenage impressing for the full 90 minutes.
“We’re happy with the win but we are still disappointed with the late goal we conceded,” Alexander-Arnold said post-game.
“But it’s always good to take a lead back to Anfield and give us an advantage.
“I thought I someone else might have taken it but I stepped up in the end… I practice it a lot in training and it paid off.
“The show of faith and trust from the manager and the players gives you confidence when you take it. I knew the players trusted me and it went in
“It’s exciting to try and get into the champions league and get those nights back at Anfield … the job is only half way done and anything can happen in those 90 minutes but we’ll do everything we can to get it done.”
A moment he will never forget. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/IbP0sjQupo
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 15, 2017
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PLAY-OFF FIRST LEG RESULTS
APOEL Nicosia 2 (De Camargo 2, Aloneftis 10) Slavia Prague 0
BSC Young Boys 0 CSKA Moscow 1 (Nuhu 90+1 og)
Hoffenheim 1 (Uth 87) Liverpool 2 (Alexander-Arnold 35, Nordtveit 74 og)
Sporting CP 0 Steaua Bucharest 0 Send-offs: (Pintilii 80 – Steaua Bucharest)
Garabagh Agdam 1 (Madatov 25) Copenhagen 0