Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold, left, celebrates scoring the opening goal against Hoffenheim.
Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold, left, celebrates scoring the opening goal against Hoffenheim. Michael Probst

Liverpool takes first-leg lead in Champions League tie

TRENT Alexander-Arnold has become the third youngest player in Champions League history to score as Liverpool secured a priceless 2-1 away win against Hoffenheim in their qualifier.

James Milner's deflected second-half strike doubled Liverpool's lead before the Reds failed to keep a clean sheet on the road, conceding to Mark Uth in the 87th minute.

Now, the Reds will take a slender lead back to Anfield, where they can secure a spot in the Champions League group stage.

Liverpool survived an early penalty scare, when Dejan Lovren was adjudged to have brought down Serge Gnabry in the box just 10 minutes into the first leg.

Instead, Simon Mignolet stood tall to save a poor strike from the spot from Andrej Kramaric, a save which changed the tie.

Then, just minutes later, Liverpool had the chance to go 1-0 up when Mohamed Salah raced through 1-on-1 with Oliver Baumann, only to shoot wide of the post with his weaker right foot.

It proved to be Alexander-Arnold who broke the deadlock in the 35th minute when he stepped up from 25 metres out to slot a free kick up and over the Hoffenheim wall to score his first senior goal for the club.

Milner then doubled the lead after coming off the bench, to score a deflected cross in the 74th minute after Liverpool took a quick free-kick in controversial circumstances.

After Emre Can was fouled, Gini Wijnaldum passed the ball quickly to Roberto Firmino, with the ball rolling and ahead of the spot where the free-kick was committed.

Hoffenheim still had the chance to create and score a late chance via Mark Uth late on before blazing a glorious late header over the bar in stoppage time.

"We're happy with the win but we are still disappointed with the late goal we conceded,” Alexander-Arnold said post-game.

"But it's always good to take a lead back to Anfield and give us an advantage.

"I thought I someone else might have taken it but I stepped up in the end... I practice it a lot in training and it paid off.

"The show of faith and trust from the manager and the players gives you confidence when you take it. I knew the players trusted me and it went in

"It's exciting to try and get into the champions league and get those nights back at Anfield ... the job is only half way done and anything can happen in those 90 minutes but we'll do everything we can to get it done.”

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