Liverpool Handed a Winnable Tie in the UEFA Champions League

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool appear a decent bet to overcome their Bundesliga opponents and qualify for the Champions League group stages.

Liverpool must travel to face Hoffenheim in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier match and are 11/8 to return to Merseyside with something to show for it, whilst they have been chalked up as odds-on favourites at 2/5 to qualify for the group stage.

Boss Jurgen Klopp returns to Germany to face one of the most promising young managers in the game, Julian Nagelsmann. The youngest coach in the division successfully staved off relegation in his first season in charge before guiding his side unexpectedly into the European places. The former youth team coach is a master tactician as his stock continues to rise and he will be determined to out-think the former Borussia Dortmund coach over the two legs.

A favourable draw for Liverpool

The reaction from Reds fans has been mixed. Some are pleased with the draw whilst others remain disappointed. Liverpool could have been drawn against free-scoring Napoli, who could have potentially caused a suspect Liverpool defence all kinds of problems. The Partenopei have one of the deadliest attacks in football and the return of Arkadiusz Milik bolsters their frontline further. The Pole spent most of last season on the sidelines but is back to full fitness, and with a supporting cast of Dries Mertens, Jose Callejon and Lorenzo Insigne, Napoli have firepower in abundance. They face Nice in a mouthwatering contest, with the Italian side priced at 1/2 to overcome the French outfit in Naples.

66/1 looks a very tempting price for Maurizio Sarri's side to go all the way in the competition this season.

Sporting Club De Portugal were another possible opponent lurking in the draw and the Portuguese outfit will be determined to bounce back after a poor season in Liga NOS. The pressure is on Jorge Jesus and they would have been tough opposition for the Reds.

Young Boys would have been many Liverpool fans' first choice of opposition, but the Bern outfit have started the season in tremendous fashion and are another free-scoring outfit. Domestically, they've already beaten Basel and put four past Grasshopper without reply. Although you shouldn't read too much into a friendly result, they stuffed Benfica 5-1. They also had the wherewithal to hold off Dynamo Kiev in the second leg despite being 3-1 down. Their game management appears to have improved enormously and their back-line isn't giving much away currently.

Basaksehir of Istanbul were the final team in the draw and Liverpool may have had a lucky escape in avoiding the Turkish outfit. They are a club riding the crest of a wave at the minute and they put five past Club Brugge across the two legs. The Belgian side are a decent outfit who qualified for last season's Champions League but found it difficult to fashion any decent efforts on goal. The Reds would not have relished visiting the Basaksehir Fatih Terim Stadyumu, a location at which they remain unbeaten since March 2016 and swept aside Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and Besiktas last season. It's a real cauldron and arguably one of the hardest places to visit in Europe.

There are no straightforward ties at this stage of the tournament and Liverpool cannot expect an easy ride against Hoffenheim, but avoiding a tricky trip to Turkey or an attacking masterclass in Naples is definitely a positive outcome for the Merseyside outfit.

Liverpool have been priced up at 25/1 to win the UEFA Champions League with Hoffenheim around 200/1 for success.

There Are No Easy Games in This Competition

Hoffenheim ended the season with mixed form but their home record was very impressive in the Bundesliga. Bayern Munich left with nothing to show for it at the beginning of April but Dortmund, Hamburg, Werder Bremen and Augsburg all managed to clinch a point here.

The draw is priced at 12/5 in the first leg and looks the best bet in this match. Hoffenheim won't give much away but Jurgen Klopp's side have a big game mentality and the Premier League side will be determined to bag themselves an away goal. Schalke were the last team to taste victory here in May 2016 and it'll be tough for Liverpool so 11/8 looks a fraction too short for the Reds to secure a victory in Germany.

The German boss guided his side to victories over Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal last season whilst they remained unbeaten against Manchester United. Liverpool always raised their game against top class opposition and they are likely to operate in a similar fashion here.

Knowing they have the second leg at Anfield is a bonus and with new recruits such as Mo Salah and Andrew Robertson enjoying some pre-season minutes, they should be ready to match the Bundesliga outfit on August 15th.

This is the first time that Hoffenheim have come close to qualifying for the UEFA Champions League and that could work in Liverpool's favour. Jurgen Klopp and his side understand the rigours of the competition and will know exactly what's required of them.

Roberto Firmino Could Be Pivotal Against His Former Club

The goalscorers market will be priced up ahead of this tie and Roberto Firmino could be a decent bet in both contests. The striker didn't have the most prolific of campaigns last year but he will be determined to notch against his former employers. The 25-year-old was signed from Hoffenheim two years ago and will be keen to make his debut in the UEFA Champions League this season. He recently netted the equaliser from the penalty spot in Liverpool's 1-1 Audi Cup draw with Atletico Madrid.

Firmino had the most prolific spell of his career at the Bundesliga club, netting 16 times in 33 appearances and will be aiming to put a dent in his former side's hopes of qualifying for Europe's elite club competition.

Liverpool Have Unfinished Business in the Competition

Liverpool were dealt a tough draw in 2014 when they were paired with Real Madrid and Basel. The Reds won just one of their six group games, which came in a narrow victory at home to Bulgarian outfit Ludogorets. The 25/1 for their Champions League title hopes looks a little skinny at this stage but it is likely to shorten should Klopp's side overcome Hoffenheim with ease across the two legs.

Borussia Dortmund and Augsburg were knocked out en route to the Europa League final as Liverpool showed their ability in knockout European competitions. That form bodes well for this qualifier.

Liverpool may be odds-on to qualify for the Champions League and they extremely look likely to reach the group stage. They will be hoping the draw is kinder to them this time around and avoiding either of the two Spanish giants would be preferable. Boss Jurgen Klopp has acknowledged there is plenty of work to do before they can start to look forward to the draw and being paired with some Europe's top clubs.

Hoffenheim are a club moving forward under the impressive Nagelsmann and they will make life difficult for the Premier League outfit, but the Reds have proved they have the mentality and the appetite for the fight against the big boys and they look set to book their place in the UEFA Champions League group stage.