Liverpool to face Hoffenheim in Champions League play-off: Fans aren't confident

Liverpool have been drawn to face German side Hoffenheim in the Champions League play-off, with Celtic taking on Astana.

Jurgen Klopp's side will travel to their Germany counterparts for the first leg on either 15 or 16 August, with the return leg to be played on 22 or 23 August.

They finished fourth in the Bundesliga last season and boast the German manager of the year in 30-year-old Julian Nagelsmann.

Hoffenheim owner Dietmar Hopp has welcomed their Champions League qualifier with Liverpool.

CL qualifying draw against Hoffenheim looks a tough one for @LFC but definitely fancy them to get through over 2 legs.

Nagelsmann is quoted by the Liverpool Echo as saying: "This morning I joked by saying "if you want to lift the trophy you also have to overcome Liverpool" as I felt it would be Liverpool". We know what we see in the players and we know what we have to do. "We travelled a lot; OK, just to Munich and back, Munich and back, but we also had a lot of sessions to do", continued Klopp, always quick with a joke. I believe they would not have necessarily picked us as their opponents.

Hoffenheim's coach Julian Nagelsmann during the Bundesliga soccer match between TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and 1. FSV Mainz 05 at Rhein-Neckar-Arena in Sinsheim Germany 20 February 2016
Klopp not ruling out more buys

Michael Owen has ruled out Philippe Coutinho swapping Liverpool for Barcelona this summer.

He's a talented dribbler of the ball (55 take ons completed last season) who takes up intelligent positions in the final third and has the end product to hurt teams as his return of six goals and eight assists in 2016-17 shows.

"This puts us in the centre of attention, this is great for the public perception of our club", said the Hoffenheim boss. Our ambition will know no bounds.

Nice, whose attack is spearheaded by maverick Italian striker Mario Balotelli, have never reached the group stage although they qualified for the old European Cup in 1956 and 1959. They will have to make the near 8,000-mile round trip to Kazakhstan to play Astana who impressively knocked out Legia Warsaw in the previous round.

Brendan Rodgers' side faced the Kazakhstani team in the third qualifying round past year, running out 3-2 aggregate winners.

Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent.

  • Stacy Allen