'Panic', 'Fans going crazy' - Liverpool fans react to Champions League play-off draw

Gent's Thomas Matton and Nice's Mario Balotelli vie for the ball during a friendly football match between Belgian first league soccer team KAA Gent and French Ligue 1 team OGC Nice

Klopp will know Hoffenheim well from his time coaching in Germany, but the Bundesliga club will present a hard obstacle as the Reds look to reach the Champions League group stage.

With Liverpool playing the first leg of the tie at Hoffenheim, it means that Roberto Firmino will return to Germany to face his old club.

The clash with Liverpool will be Hoffenheim's first ever in European football, having risen from the fifth division in 2000 to the top flight eight years later with the financial backing of software mogul Dietmar Hopp.

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Of the five potential teams Liverpool could have met in the Champions League qualifying round they would probably have hoped to avoid one of Nice or Hoffenheim.

The reds were handed one of the more hard opponents in today's draw for the Champions League qualifier.


"Despite Astana beating Legia Warsaw in the previous round, the Scottish champions are strong favourites at 1/3 to progress and its 9/4 they fail".

"It's a very interesting club".

Hoffenheim lost two key figures this summer, as defensive stalwart Niklas Süle and midfielder Sebastian Rudy left for Bayern. "In one-and-a-half weeks we're starting against Watford, we can't forget that".

Brendan Rodgers' side played Astana in the Champions League last season, drawing 1-1 away before winning the Parkhead return 2-1 thanks to a last-gasp Moussa Dembele penalty.

Napoli, which finished third in Serie A last season and reached the round of 16 in the Champions League, will play the first leg at home.

"We know what it's like out there - hotel, astroturf pitch, same manager and virtually the same players". "We will get the benefit of it during the season", added the German manager.

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