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Champions League Roundup: Liverpool Holds Advantage After Hoffenheim Victory

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In the absence of unsettled playmaker Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool turned to an 18-year-old right back making his European debut for some set-piece magic in its Champions League playoff win against Hoffenheim on Tuesday.Talked up at Anfield as a potential star of the future, Alexander-Arnold curled in a free kick from 30 yards to set Liverpool on its way to a 2-1 victory over a German side making its debut in European competition. Liverpool were further put on course to reach the group stage Havard Nordtveit deflected substitute James Milner’s cross into his own net to make it 2-0 in the 74th minute.Substitute Mark Uth gave Hoffenheim a glimmer of hope going into next week’s second leg at Anfield when he chested down a long ball forward and drilled an angled shot into the corner in the 87th. Liverpool is looking to become the fifth English team to qualify for the group stage – joining Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Europa League winner Manchester United – and return to Europe’s top competition for the first time since the 2014-15 season.Elsewhere, Apoel Nicosia hold a 2-0 first-leg lead in their Champions League play-off tie after they saw off the challenge of Slavia Prague in Cyprus and Copenhagen face an uphill battle in their bid to make this season’s Champions League, however, after they were beaten 1-0 in Azerbaijan by Qarabag FK. Young Boys defender Kasim Nuhu scored a comical own goal in added time to hand CSKA Moscow a 1-0 win while Steaua Bucharest, who had Mihai Pintilii sent off late on, picked up a 0-0 draw at Sporting Lisbon. Five other matches would be played later today.Photo Credit: Getty

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