Liverpool eased to a 4-1 win away to Genk, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain‘s brilliant double inspiring the Reds to victory.
Genk 1-4 Liverpool
Champions League Group Stage (3), Luminus Arena
October 23, 2019
Goals: Odey 88′; Oxlade-Chamberlain 2′, 57′, Mane 77′, Salah 87′
Alisson (out of 10) – 7
The Brazilian continued in goal after his return from injury and he had an unruffled night between the sticks.
He made an important first-half save, producing a strong right arm, but was otherwise untested and could do little about Stephen Odey’s late consolation.
James Milner – 8
Milner was used at right-back, once again outlining his versatility, and he put in an excellent performance.
The veteran got up and down the right flank in a manner that belied his years and he used the ball intelligently throughout.
Dejan Lovren – 6
A shaky start saw him make a couple of positionally-questionable decisions, but he improved from that point on.
That was until the dying minutes, when Lovren was horribly at fault for Genk’s consolation, losing the ball out wide and showing why so many don’t trust him.
Virgil van Dijk – 7
Liverpool’s Mr Ever-Present was again at the heart of the defence, cutting a reliable figure as always.
Being ultra-critical, the Dutchman did misplace a few passes and didn’t always look at his peerless best, but he was still good overall. Sometimes you just expect too much from him.
Andy Robertson – 7
What a consistent footballer Robertson is. He was a bundle of energy down the left-hand side, making lung-busting runs and providing quality in possession.
He almost found the net with one drilled effort in the first half and stuck to his defensive duties doggedly.
Replaced in the second half and given a deserved breather.
Fabinho – 7
Celebrating his 26th birthday, the Brazilian shone as usual in the No.6 role, even picking up an incisive assist for Oxlade-Chamberlain’s early opener.
There are few better players in the world in his position, if any.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 8 (Man of the Match)
This was a proud night for Oxlade-Chamberlain on his first Champions League start since April 2018, having endured such a horrible time through injury.
Bringing more guile and dynamism to the midfield than the out-of-form Henderson, the 26-year-old fired home from 20 yards to give the Reds the lead.
His second of the night was an outside-of-the-foot stunner, showing just how much technical quality he possesses.
This was a hugely positive step in the right direction.
Naby Keita – 7
There was happiness from many supporters when Keita was named in the starting lineup and he didn’t disappoint.
A silky figure in the middle of the park, the Guinean produced deft touches and clever movement, also impressing in his off-the-ball work.
It wasn’t all perfect, with a few passes not finding a teammate and the midfield looking open, but Keita has put himself in contention for a start against Tottenham on Sunday.
Mohamed Salah – 7
Salah returned from an ankle injury, and while he never found top gear against Genk, he still ended up having a big influence.
His movement was constantly dangerous – something that Liverpool missed badly at Man United – but his all-round use of the ball was poor.
That being said, he assisted Mane with a nice pass and then rounded off the scoring with a lovely effort, showing how ruthless he can be.
Sadio Mane – 7
There may have been some sense in giving Mane a rest, but he started again, reverting to his favoured left-sided role.
He wasn’t at his devastating best, but his link-up play with Robertson was sometimes a delight and he scored with a lovely finish to make it 3-0.
Returned the favour with Salah and laid-on his goal.
Roberto Firmino – 8
Firmino was off the boil at United, but he was a joy to watch at times here.
His intelligence and creativity caught the eye more than any other player, with one outrageous rabona pass almost teeing up Mane for a memorable goal.
The Brazilian was Liverpool’s standout attacking player and his subtle genius will never fail to disappoint.
Joe Gomez (on for Robertson, 63′) – 6
Used at right-back, Gomez was solid more than anything.
Gini Wijnaldum (on for Oxlade-Chamberlain, 73′) – 6
Came on, did a job and helped Liverpool cruise to victory. Shot wide.
Divock Origi (on for Firmino, 80′) – 6
Back in his homeland, the Belgian had a quiet cameo. Nice reception from the home fans at his former club.
Subs not used: Adrian, Henderson, Lallana, Brewster
Jurgen Klopp – 7
This was a good evening for Klopp, who will have been pleased to see a run of four consecutive away Champions League group stage defeats come to an end.
The German’s starting lineup was applauded, most notably because of Fabinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Keita making up the midfield for the first time together.
Liverpool’s performance wasn’t always the most convincing, but this was a positive night for the Reds boss.
It’s Tottenham up next and a massive game at Anfield.