Liverpool 4, Hoffenheim 2 (Agg: 6-3): Jurgen Klopp savours Liverpool's return to Champions League group stage

Ross McLean
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Emre Can scored twice during Liverpool's blistering start (Source: Getty)

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp savoured his side’s return to the Champions League group stage after the free-scoring Merseysiders brushed aside Hoffenheim in the second leg of their play-off.

The five-time conquerors of Europe were 3-0 up inside 21 minutes courtesy of an Emre Can double and Mohamed Salah strike, while Roberto Firmino added a fourth in between goals from Mark Uth and Sandro Wagner for the visitors.

Liverpool’s progression and presence in Thursday’s draw means five English sides – Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City, Manchester United and the Reds – will compete in the Champions League group stage for the first time.

It is also the first occasion since 2014 that Liverpool will feature in that round of the competition. Klopp said: “I have not enough words for this, it’s amazing. Fourteen months of the hardest work. It’s just amazing. Big compliment to my team.

“We wanted a fast start and we played the perfect first half an hour. We have fulfilled our dream. You cannot imagine how intense this game was and the pressure. Nobody will want to get us in the group.”

Liverpool were irresistible in the opening stages and Can’s brace and Salah’s tap-in all but ensured the Reds would be reach the group stage for only the second time in eight seasons.

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