NYON: Liverpool became the fifth English club in the group stage of the Champions League booking their place in the group stages thanks to a 6-3 aggregate victory over Hoffenheim.
The Reds went into the second leg at Anfield with a 2-1 lead from Germany and three goals in the opening 21 minutes – two from Emre Can and one from Mohamed Salah – put them further on course for a place in the lucrative group stages of the competition for the first time in three seasons.
Mark Uth pulled one back for the visitors in the first half but Roberto Firmino’s strike against his old club just after the hour sealed the deal before Sandro Wagner’s effort 11 minutes from time served only as a consolation for the visitors.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was thrilled, saying: “For the club, for the team, (it is) everything we have worked for in the last 14 months. You will always get some people who say, ‘It is only Champions League’, but we feel we wanted to be part of it with all we have.
“I thought the boys played a few pieces of outstanding football. Against an opponent like Hoffenheim you also have a few problems – that is how it is – but we are happy about a deserved qualification for the group stage.
“We were so dominant in the first part – so good, so dangerous, so clinical. We could have scored even more. The atmosphere was outstanding. It was too loud for me to get in contact with the boys.”