Liverpool took a significant step towards the Champions League group stages as James Milner helped seal their 2-1 win at Hoffenheim on Tuesday in their playoff, first-leg.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool are in pole position ahead of the return at Anfield on Wednesday, August 23.

After goalkeeper Simon Mignolet had saved a first-half penalty, 18-year-old defender Trent Alexander-Arnold curled in a free-kick to give Liverpool the lead.

Ex-England forward Milner made sure of victory in south-west Germany by curling in a cross-cum-shot, which dropped inside the far post on 75 minutes after deflecting off Havard Nordtveit for an own goal.

Hoffenheim pulled a goal back when replacement Mark Uth managed to beat the offside trap to score late on.

Liverpool's want-away attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho sat out the play-off with a back injury.

The Brazilian is desperate to leave Anfield for Barcelona after handing in a transfer request, but Liverpool insist he is not for sale.