Numbers Game – Hoffenheim vs Liverpool

On their return to the Champions League scene Liverpool have already made history, by beating Hoffenheim 2-1 thanks to goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold and James Milner. The record that the Reds’ broke was simply beating the Germans, who have not lost at home since 2015-16 in a match against FC Schalke 04. The second leg will take place at Anfield next week, and there is plenty to play for after Mark Uth’s late goal.  

#34 – Arnold > Coutinho

The drama surrounding a potential move to Barcelona still swirls, and Philippe Coutinho remained on the sidelines with a back injury, which actually worked out well for Liverpool. If the Brazilian was on the pitch, Trent Alexander-Arnold would never have had the chance to score the opening goal with a perfectly placed free-kick. It came in the 34th minute, and was the Englishmen’s first goal for the Reds, and obviously, his first goal in the Champions League.

Alexander-Arnold has always shown an eagle eye, most notably through his crossing. For instance, against Watford last weekend the youngster whipped in five crosses and more often than not the ball found its target or fizzed through the danger zone. Goal scoring is not on his resume at a senior level, however, Alexander-Arnold certainly knows how to find the net as a junior. For England’s U19 he scored seven goals in 10 games, which is a more prominent record than Coutinho at the same age. The Brazilian scored a total of six goals in 12 games between U17 and U20 for Brazil.

Alexander-Arnold became the third youngest goal scorer in Europe.

#22 – Marvellous Mignolet

The Belgian keeper could have a very busy season ahead, considering how fragile Liverpool’s defence is currently looking. Simon Mignolet made a crucial penalty save early on, and then a couple one-on-ones there after. In total Hoffenheim had 11 attempts at goal, four of those found the target and forced saves out of Liverpool’s shot-stopper. The spot-kick save was Mignolet’s seventh penalty save across all competitions.

Following a tough opening period to last season that included some comical errors, Mignolet was replaced by Loris Karius and many thought that might be the end of him. However, the German replacement stumbled and that gave Mignolet another chance, and the Belgian has not looked back since. Liverpool have already conceded four goals in two games this campaign, so the early forecast is looking like a busy workload for Mignolet in 2017-18 and judging his recent efforts the Reds can rest assured they have the right custodian for the job.

Touch wood.

#608 – Hoffenheim harriers

Liverpool have a history of dominating teams, they have done so throughout the years, however, they were on the back-foot against Watford and that theme continued versus Hoffenheim. The Germans finished the game with 59% possession and pretty much controlled the tempo of proceedings. The Reds played on the counter attack for the majority, with Hoffenheim attempting 608 passes compared to Liverpool’s 372.

From that, Hoffenheim completed 533, while Liverpool connected 300 passes. The Germans notched up a pass accuracy of 87%, and they covered 116km combined. Although they didn’t get the win, Hoffenheim produced a quality performance on their Champions League debut, and remain in contention. If they can repeat this performance at Anfield they might yet further their European ambitions.

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