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DPA/PA Images Hoffenheim's Kerem Demirbay with Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino during the first leg.
# Nearly there
Liverpool have one final hurdle to jump tonight before a long-awaited Champions League return
The Reds take a 2-1 lead into this evening’s play-off second leg with German outfit Hoffenheim.

HOFFENHEIM HEAD TO Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool bidding to make history by overturning a 2-1 deficit in tonight’s Champions League play-off second leg (7.45pm, live on RTÉ 2) to become the first German club to win at Anfield.

Liverpool looked to have planted one foot in the group phase after going 2-0 up in last week’s first leg in Germany, only for Mark Uth’s 87th-minute reply to bring Hoffenheim right back into the tie.

The Germans are bidding to reach the Champions League’s group stage for the first time in the club’s history.

Liverpool, who have been absent from the competition for three years, have yet to lose at home to German opposition in 14 matches at home in European competition — with 11 wins and three draws.

“There is always the first time, we want to win the game, but there is the additional attraction of writing our own success story,” Hoffenheim’s 24-year-old Germany midfielder Kerem Demirbay told German daily Bild.

“It’s a great time to write history.”

Liverpool v Crystal Palace - Premier League - Anfield Martin Rickett Reds boss Klopp. Martin Rickett

Although they need to score at least twice, Demirbay insists the Germans will not be intimidated by Anfield, but are full of respect for Klopp’s side.

“One has to say, they are simply a good team, but we are also good,” said Demirbay.

“We’re not Liverpool, but we can go there with our heads held high and play without fear. We’re good enough to survive there too and score at least two goals.”

Demirbay says the novelty of playing in the electric atmosphere of Anfield will motivate the Germans.

“It can also give us a push, because none of us have experienced an atmosphere like Anfield.

“I won’t be intimidated, quite the opposite. I think it’s great when you come across a mood like that in a stadium. It’s inspiring.”

© – AFP, 2017

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