How Liverpool's players rated as they secured Champions League football with victory over Hoffenheim
Liverpool came into this tie knowing that they only had to avoid defeat in order to qualify for the Champions League group stage, but they went all out attack in the opening stages and blew their German opposition away.
Emre Can twice found himself in the right place at the right time, either side of Mohamed Salah’s pouncing on a deflection off the woodwork, and Liverpool raced to a 3-0 lead to all but put the tie to bed within the first 21 minutes of the game.
Hoffenheim did fight back, with Mark Uth and Sandro Wagner scoring as the Germans capitalised on some weak defending, but Roberto Firmino put his name on the scoresheet thanks to some good work from Jordan Henderson to ensure that the result was safe.
Here are how the Reds rated in an impressive victory:
Simon Mignolet – 6
Occasionally flapping at crosses, Mignolet did not have as much to do as he did in the first leg. Little he could have done about either goal, he was not really challenged.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7
Looked cool, calm and collected. The uninformed spectator would never have known that it was only his second appearance in European football as he linked up superbly with the Liverpool attack. He appeared to be struggling with a slight knock before being replaced by Joe Gomez in the second half.
Joel Matip – 6
Let his man drift away from him to cause Dejan Lovren problems for the second goal, he was calm and collected in possession. His work was cut out alongside Lovren at the back as he tried to keep the back four organised.
Dejan Lovren – 5
Woeful defending gifted Hoffenheim a goal and was then beaten in the air for his second as he continued to fail to convince. He looked wasteful in possession and seemed to have switched off at times. His attitude tonight will not have impressed Jurgen Klopp in the slightest.
Alberto Moreno – 7
Many expected Andrew Robertson to be expected ahead of him, but Moreno got the nod and he produced a solid display at the back. Rampaging forwards, he remained defensively solid where he previously has slipped up.
Jordan Henderson – 8
Excellent pressing to set up Roberto Firmino to score in a more advanced role, his pass to the Brazilian was an unselfish move. He’s had a very slow start to the season but this display was more like the kind of form that Reds fans will have expected from their captain.
Emre Can – 9
Scored a brace and had a real instinct, much like a centre forward, to make excellent runs into the box to get on the end of the crosses from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah. His all round performance was superb and whilst he did go for it, he didn’t allow himself to get carried away in the hunt for a hat-trick.
Georgino Wijnaldum – 7
Not quite as influential as he is at his very best, he once again looked like a creative attacking force and pressed high when given the opportunity. It was the best display of the season so far from the Dutchman.
Mohamed Salah – 8
Electric pace and skill which will surely be giving the Hoffenheim defence nightmares for days and weeks to come. He will be pleased to have got on the scoresheet as he found himself in the right place at the right time.
Roberto Firmino – 8
Rewarded with a goal for a positive display in which he looked to orchestrate every Liverpool attack through the middle. His movement caused havoc as he drifted wide and deep and gave the German defence a real headache.
Sadio Mane – 9
A constant threat down the left flank, the Senegal international was simply sensational. He was unselfish and constantly looking to play others in and his deliveries were good too. He may not have got on the scoresheet but that was the only way his performance could have improved.
Joe Gomez (for Alexander-Arnold, 64) – 7
Dominant in the air, his introduction did not disrupt Liverpool’s defensive solidity.
James Milner (for Can, 70) – 7
Sat deep in midfield and looked to play a kind of playmaker role. Protected the defence well and played some good long balls.
Ragnar Klavan (for Mane, 89) – N/A
Added extra aerial presence at the back in the final moments.
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