Liverpool will have to beat Hoffenheim in a two-legged playoff to reach the group stages of the Champions League.
The draw was made in Nyon on Friday with Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino’s former club Hoffenheim, who finished fourth in the Bundesliga last season, drawing Jurgen Klopp’s side out of the hat.
Qarabag vs. Copenhagen
APOEL vs. Slavia Prague
Olympiakos vs. Rijeka
Celtic vs. Astana
Hapoel Be’er-Sheva vs. Maribor
Liverpool boss Klopp cannot wait to return to Germany to face Hoffenheim, but he knows they will provide a tough test for his side.
“Very interesting,” Klopp told Liverpool’s official website of the draw. “Actually, it was exactly what I expected when I had a look — if there’s a choice we always seem to take the German team. Sorry!
“It was clear from the first moment when we knew who we could face that there would be no easy game. It’s Hoffenheim and that’s for sure not an easy game. But we should always not forget what they thought in the moment they saw the draw — it’s not the best thing they could get.
“I’m completely fine with it, happy to know and now we can start preparing. [They are a] strong side, how everybody can imagine. When you are fourth in Germany you are a strong side. It’s a very interesting club. They have a lot of really good young players. They lost two of them — [Sebastian] Rudy and [Niklas] Sule to Bayern Munich — and had a little change. [They have] a very young manager, just 30 years old, a very talented man.
“That’s a real challenge but I’m looking forward to it. First we’ll play Watford [in the Premier League] but at the same time we’ll start preparing for Hoffenheim and it’s really exciting.”