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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Trending: Trent Alexander-Arnold helps Liverpool edge toward UCL

Hoffenheim scored a late goal to give them a puncher's chance against Liverpool heading to Anfield for the second leg.
Steve Nicol and the FC crew break down the positives and negatives of Liverpool's Champions League victory over Hoffenheim.

Wednesday's latest stories from the world of football in ESPN FC's What's Trending...

LIVERPOOL: Trent Alexander-Arnold scored his first Liverpool goal as Jurgen Klopp's side took a 2-1 lead in their Champions League qualifier away to Hoffenheim.

- Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann has rejected Jurgen Klopp's claim that Liverpool kept the Bundesliga side under control throughout the game.

Jurgen Klopp says he forced Alexander-Arnold to be on free kick-taking duty as the youngster...

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool cannot be trusted as defence issues remain

The ESPN FC crew discuss Dejan Lovren while Steve Nicol blasts Liverpool's dodgy defence.
The ESPN FC crew discuss Dejan Lovren while Steve Nicol blasts Liverpool's dodgy defence.
The ESPN FC crew discuss Dejan Lovren while Steve Nicol blasts Liverpool's dodgy defence.

It is the first minute of injury time. As Hoffenheim's Nadiem Amiri prepares to take a free kick, Benjamin Hubner is at the far side of the area, tussling with Emre Can. But by the time Amiri's cross floats into the area, Hubner has gone. He has slipped away, moving up to slot into the space between Dominic Solanke and Joel Matip. He rises into the night air and powers his free header ... straight over the bar. On such moments rest entire campaigns.

Liverpool had much to be proud of in their Champions...

 By Dave Usher

Failings of leaky Liverpool defence remain despite win in Hoffenheim

Hoffenheim scored a late goal to give them a puncher's chance against Liverpool heading to Anfield for the second leg.
The left side of Liverpool's defence against Hoffenheim was absolutely dreadful. Watch the low-lights from Dejan Lovren and Alberto Moreno.
Steve Nicol and the FC crew break down the positives and negatives of Liverpool's Champions League victory over Hoffenheim.
The FC guys answer your tweets on whether or not Dejan Lovren is Liverpool's worst centre-back ever, Brian McBride's Prem predictions and more.

Liverpool appear to have one foot in the Champions League group stages after a 2-1 win in Hoffenheim on Tuesday night. Yet despite a fine first leg result in Germany there is clearly plenty for Jurgen Klopp to sort out defensively.

The Merseysiders played some good football and at times tore through a team that hadn't lost at home for 16 months, but they once again looked vulnerable at the back and needed goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to make several important saves, including a crucial first half stop...

Liverpool secure Champions League playoff first-leg win in Hoffenheim

Hoffenheim scored a late goal to give them a puncher's chance against Liverpool heading to Anfield for the second leg.
Trent Alexander-Arnold scored his first-ever Liverpool goal in fashion with this well taken free kick.

SINSHEIM, Germany -- Three quick thoughts from Liverpool's 2-1 win over Hoffenheim in the first leg of their Champions League playoff on Tuesday.

1. Liverpool have one foot in the Champions League

In many ways, this was classic Liverpool away from home in the Champions League. It has been some time since the Merseyside club were a regular in Europe's premier club competition, but their successful era in the tournament under previous Reds manager Rafael Benitez was built on displays away from...

 By Ian Holyman

Mario Balotelli watches Nice's Champions League match in bar with fans

Nice advanced to the Champions League playoff round on away goals after drawing with Ajax in the qualifier second leg.

Mario Balotelli always likes to do things a little different, doesn't he?

Nice fans gathered in one of the city's bars on Wednesday to watch their heroes grab a place in the Champions League playoff must have been amazed to find the biggest of their idols, Balotelli himself, sitting alongside them.

A hamstring injury meant Super Mario could not be on the Amsterdam ArenA pitch to face Ajax, but the Italy international striker, who had scored his team's goal in the 1-1 first leg, provided support...

 By Chris Wright

French mayor honours disgusting bet after PSG's CL exit vs. Barcelona

You may be familiar with the concept of "eating humble pie," but the mayor of a town in France was recently forced to dine on an altogether less appetizing dish as the result of a botched wager.

After watching PSG hammer Barcelona 4-0 in the first leg of their Champions League encounter last season (in the round of 16), Charles Dayot, mayor of Mont-de-Marsan, declared that he would gladly "eat a rat" if the Parisians didn't end up making the quarterfinals.

Of course, Barca went on to record an...