BERNE (Reuters) – Teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold curled in a magnificent free kick on his European debut to set Liverpool on the way to a 2-1 win at Hoffenheim which put them on the brink of Champions League group stage place on Tuesday.
Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet saved an early penalty and James Milner’s shot was deflected into his own net by Havard Nordtveit for the English Premier League side’s second goal in an end-to-end match.
An astonishing last-minute own goal by Young Boys defender Kasim Nuhu handed CSKA Moscow a 1-0 away win while Sporting were held to a goalless draw at home by FCSB, formerly Steaua Bucharest, in two of the other Champions League playoff ties.
Alexander-Arnold, 18, who only made his Premier League debut in December, curled a free kick through a gap in the Hoffenheim wall 10 minutes before halftime as Liverpool survived a rocky start.
It could have been very different if Andrej Kramaric had converted a penalty for the Bundesliga side in the 12th minute but he saw a weak effort saved by Mignolet.
Liverpool had another let-off just before halftime when Mignolet saved from Kramaric and Wagner rolled the rebound wide of the post.
Hoffenheim, attempting to qualify for the group stage for the first time, had more possession but