Liverpool endured a tough challenge away to Genk on Wednesday night, but boosted their chances of progress in the Champions League with a 4-1 win.
Genk 1-4 Liverpool
Champions League Group Stage (3), Luminus Arena
October 23, 2019
Oxlade-Chamberlain 2′ (assist – Fabinho)
Oxlade-Chamberlain 57′ (assist – Firmino)
Mane 77′ (assist – Salah)
Salah 87′ (assist – Mane)
Between clashes with Man United and Tottenham in the league, Jurgen Klopp opted to make five changes to his starting lineup, including Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in midfield.
Oxlade-Chamberlain got off the mark within two minutes, firing into the bottom corner from range to fire up the travelling Kop, stationed behind the Genk goal.
Genk had the better of the chances after that opener, however, with both Mbwana Samatta and the 6’7″ Paul Onuachu threatening on the break and Junya Ito threatening with his crosses from the right.
Alisson made a big save to deny Onuachu, providing a big reminder of the difference he is able to make, while at the other end brilliant flicks from Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane saw the Reds go close twice.
Samatta had the ball in the back of the net as half-time drew closer, and Genk would have deserved to head into the break level, but a lengthy VAR check and a fractional offside ensured Liverpool kept the lead.
Half-time: Genk 0-1 Liverpool
- Klopp makes five changes as Salah returns, Ox & Keita start
- Ox scores twice on returning to starting XI; his first goals since April 2018
- Firmino, Salah and Mane combine for excellent third for the Reds
- Salah nets another before Lovren error hands Odey consolation
- First away win in Champions League group stage since 2017
Genk kept up the pressure after the break, with Van Dijk continually urging his fellow defenders to switch on as the hosts’ overlapping attacks caused trouble.
But Oxlade-Chamberlain switched it on again just before the hour mark, and this time it was a spectacular finish from the No. 15: first time, with the outside of his boot and in off the crossbar.
The manager opted to bring him off with 15 minutes to play, perhaps with a view to a starting place against Tottenham on Sunday, with Gini Wijnaldum coming on as Liverpool sought to see the game out.
They ended up putting it further beyond doubt shortly after, as Firmino, Mane and Mohamed Salah all combined in a slick move with two reverse passes and a sumptuous chip over Gaetan Coucke from Mane for 3-0.
Salah added another with a strong turn and fine finish, before a typical Lovren error handed the persistent Genk a late consolation through Stephen Odey.
It was the only real negative on a convincing night for Liverpool.
*Video via BT Sport; geographic restrictions may apply.
TIA Man of the Match: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Referee: Slavko Vincic (SVN)
Genk: Coucke; Maehle, Cuesta, Lucumi, Uronen; Ito, Berge, Heynen, Bongonda (Ndongala 67′); Onuachu (Odey 81′), Samatta
Subs not used: Vandevoordt, De Norre, Dewaest, Hagi, Hrosovsky
Liverpool: Alisson; Milner, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson (Gomez 63′); Fabinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Wijnaldum 74′), Keita; Salah, Mane, Firmino (Origi 80′)
Subs: Adrian, Henderson, Lallana, Brewster
Next Match: Tottenham (H) – Premier League – Sunday, October 27, 4.30pm (BST)