Michael Owen states his prediction for Liverpool v Hoffenheim
The former Liverpool striker is backing Jurgen Klopp's side to beat Hoffenheim to nil in the second leg of their Champions League playoff
Michael Owen is backing Liverpool to avoid an upset and beat Hoffenheim to nil in the second leg of their Champions League playoff.
The Reds were 2-1 winners against the Bundesliga outfit in the first leg in Germany last week thanks to goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold and James Milner.
The Merseyside outfit registered their first Premier League win of the 2017-18 season thanks to a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Anfield on Saturday.
Senegal international Sadio Mane scored in successive top-flight games to secure three points for Liverpool with 18 minutes remaining at Anfield.
Hoffenheim were 1-0 winners against Werder Bremen in their first fixture in the new Bundesliga campaign ahead of Wednesday’s clash on Merseyside.
Former Liverpool striker Owen is confident the Reds will get the job done despite admitting that Klopp’s side find themselves in an awkward position.
“Two away goals mean Liverpool are in a commanding position entering the second leg at Anfield, and it would be a massive surprise to see Hoffenheim advance to the group stages,” Owen told BetVictor.
“Clubs are often left in limbo when entering the second leg with a lead, trying to decide whether they should sit back and be patient or go all-out attack and try to get the game finished early.”
Owen added: “The best example of this is probably England’s 1-0 defeat to Scotland at Wembley. We won the first leg 2-0 at Hampden and then didn’t know what to do in the return leg, with half of the side happy to sit back and defend, whilst the others preferred to start all guns blazing.
“It will be fascinating how the Reds set-up for the game but I expect Jurgen Klopp to get the tactics spot on, and it should prove a brilliant 90 minutes of football at Anfield. With two away goals Liverpool are only going to lose the tie if they conceded a hatful and I just can’t see it happening.”
Liverpool haven’t played in the Champions League group stage since 2014-15 when Brendan Rodgers’ side crashed out of the competition before the knockout phase.
The Reds have signed AS Roma winger Mohamed Salah, Chelsea teenager Domimic Solanke and Hull City defender Andy Robertson in the summer transfer window so far.
The Merseyside outfit will host title rivals Arsenal in their next Premier League game at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.