With a 2-1 victory over Hoffenheim on the road that gives them the away goal advantage, Liverpool are in a dominant position as they head back to Anfield for the second leg of their Champions League playoff. When asked about getting a big result, though, midfielder Gini Wijnaldum wanted to dial things back a little.
“I don’t want to speak about a ‘big’ result, more a ‘good’ result,” he said following Tuesday’s victory in Germany that at least gave them the edge in their qualifying playoff. “The big result must be at the end of the two games that mean you’re through to the Champions League—so not a big result, a good result.”
Another factor in Wijnaldum seeking to dial back on any post-match excitement was that it was an at times difficult game, and one that Liverpool didn’t always appear to be fully in control of, relying as they did on a handful of key saves from goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to ensure they came out ahead in the end.
Liverpool also had their chances to score, of course—chances that too often were put wide of the mark—but in the end it was a match where almost any result with both sides scoring wouldn’t have seemed an entirely unfair outcome. Liverpool won, but it was a struggle for them at times, and it certainly wasn’t a dominant win.
“The game was very difficult because they played with three at the back and five midfielders, so it was really hard to close the gaps,” Wijnaldum noted. “But I think we did it well. They created a few chances but we created a few big chances also. At the end, we can be happy.”
Happy but not ecstatic about good win that wasn’t a big win because there’s still more work to do next Wednesday in leg two when Hoffenheim come to Anfield following domestic action for both on Saturday—Hoffenheim against Werder Bremen and Liverpool against Crystal Palace.