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UEFA Champions League

Hoffenheim vs Liverpool: TV channel, stream, kick-off time, odds & Champions League play-off preview

16:00 EAT 14/08/2017
HD Mohamed Salah Roberto Firmino Liverpool
The Premier League outfit face a difficult task if they are to reach the group stage, with a Bundesliga side standing in their way

Liverpool will attempt to put one foot in the Champions League group stage when they take on Hoffenheim in the play-off first leg on Tuesday.

Reds 11/8 to win first leg

Jurgen Klopp's side come into the crunch qualifying game having kicked off their Premier League campaign with a 3-3 draw at Watford on Saturday and the German coach will want to see an improvement as they look to ensure their place in Europe's premier club competition this season.

Barcelona's pursuit of Philippe Coutinho has served as an unwelcome distraction for the Reds as they embark on a new season, but the squad will have to focus all their energies on Hoffenheim, with an extremely lucrative prize at stake.

The Bundesliga commences this coming Saturday, so Julian Nagelsmann's side have yet to taste league action, but they did record a 1-0 win over Rot-Weiss Erfurt in the first round of the DFB Pokal last Saturday.

Game Hoffenheim vs Liverpool
Date Tuesday, August 15
Time 20:45 local / 19:45 BST

TV CHANNEL & LIVE STREAM


In the UK, the match will be available to watch live on television on BT Sport 2 and via online stream using the BT Sport app.

UK TV channel Online stream
BT Sport 2 BT Sport App

In the US, the match will be available to watch live on television on Fox Sports 1, as well as being available to stream online using Fox Sports GO.

US TV channel Online stream
Fox Sports 1 Fox Sports GO

SQUAD & TEAM NEWS


Position Liverpool players
Goalkeepers Mignolet, Karius, Ward
Defenders Lovren, Matip, Robertson, Milner, Gomez, Klavan, Moreno, Flanagan, Alexander-Arnold
Midfielders Wijnaldum, Henderson, Can, Salah, Grujic, Kent
Forwards Mane, Firmino, Solanke, Origi

Ronaldo could miss 12 games over ref push

Klopp has not included want-away midfielder Coutinho in his squad for the game. The Brazilian, who handed in a transfer request over the weekend, is said to be nursing a back problem, but considering the stand-off over his future, he may not have been involved even if he was fit.

Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne are also absent, with both players carrying injuries, while Danny Ings remains unavailable as he continues to recover from a knee injury.

Potential starting XI: Mignolet; Moreno, Matip, Lovren, Milner; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Can; Salah, Mane, Firmino

Position Hoffenheim players
Goalkeepers Baumann, Stolz, Kobel
Defenders Nordtveit, Kaderabek, Bicakcic, Toljan, Schulz, Hubner, Hoogma, Akpoguma, Posch, Vogt
Midfielders Rupp, Polanski, Demirbay, Grillitsch, Zuber, Amiri, Zulj, Gnabry, Geiger, Skenderovic, Hack
Forwards Wagner, Uth, Kramaric, Szalai, Ochs

Hoffenheim are likely to play a 3-5-2 formation against Liverpool and head coach Nagelsmann has indicated that he will make some changes to the team that defeated RW Erfurt.

On-loan Bayern Munich starlet Serge Gnabry came on as a second-half substitute in that win, but the 22-year-old could be in line to start against the Reds. Goalkeeper Oliver Baumann is also likely to replace 19-year-old Gregor Kobel between the posts, having sat out Saturday's cup victory.

Potential starting XI: Baumann; Nordtveit, Vogt, Hubner; Kaderabek, Zuber, Demirbay, Amiri, Kramaric, Gnabry; Wagner


BETTING & MATCH ODDS


Gerrard slams Barca over Coutinho pursuit

Liverpool are 13/10 favourites to win in Germany, according to dabblebet, with Hoffenheim considered at 21/10 to beat the Reds. A draw is available at odds of 9/4.

Roberto Firmino is an 11/2 bet to score first, while Sadio Mane, who bagged two against Watford, is 6/1 along with new signing Mohamed Salah.


GAME PREVIEW


The omission of Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool's squad for their Champions League game against Hoffenheim - officially due to a back injury - comes as no surprise as the Reds attempt to deal with Barcelona's desire for one of their star players amid a crucial series of fixtures.

Coutinho missed the opening Premier League game of the season against Watford, a game which the Reds could only draw, and it remains to be seen if he will become available at all in the coming weeks as the club seek a resolution to the quandary.

Barcelona sign Spurs flop Paulinho for €40m

However, while Klopp may be somewhat disheartened by the prospective loss of Coutinho, he will certainly be pleased by the immediate impact made by Mohamed Salah, who scored on his Premier League debut for the club.

Salah, a summer arrival from Roma, linked up well with attacking partners Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino in their 3-3 draw against Watford, giving the German boss cause for optimism.

While the Coutinho transfer saga rumbles on, there is another intriguing narrative to the clash, with Firmino returning to his former club Hoffenheim. The 25-year-old forward spent five seasons at the Baden-Wurttemberg outfit before joining Liverpool in 2015 but he will be hoping to come back to haunt them when they meet again on Tuesday.