Liverpool face Belgian side Genk in their third Champions League group match of the season; here are the key facts and stats ahead of kick-off.
Grounds for Optimism
This will be the first time the teams have ever met and Genk will be the Reds’ 130th different European opponent and the 77th in this competition.
Genk will be the Reds’ fourth different opponent from Belgium in Europe, following Anderlecht, Bruges and Standard Liege.
Liverpool’s record against Belgian teams is 10 wins, two draws and a single defeat. That loss came at the hands of Anderlecht, in Brussels in the 1978 Super Cup.
In six away games in Belgium, the Reds have recorded three wins with two draws and that one loss.
A Belgian team (Anderlecht, again) were also the team Liverpool faced for the first time wearing all-red, in 1964.
This will only be the second time they have met a Belgian club in the group stage of this competition; they defeated Anderlecht home and away in the 05/06 campaign.
Liverpool have lost each of their last four away group fixtures, scoring only once in that sequence, and have not won any of the last five.
The last away group game win came at Maribor two years ago when they won 7-0, with Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah each scoring twice. Philippe Coutinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Trent Alexander-Arnold were also on target.
That victory at Maribor is the Reds’ only away win in the group stages of this competition in their last 10.
In all games on an opponent’s ground since the win at Man City in April 2018, Liverpool have won two and lost six of eight games.
Liverpool last conceded three goals in successive European group games came in the Europa League in 2012-13, at Young Boys and also at home to Udinese.
They last scored four or more in successive European games in the 2017-18 Champions League, netting seven at home to Spartak Moscow in the group phase and five at Porto in the knockout stages.
Sadio Mane has scored eight goals on an opponent’s ground in this competition for Liverpool. Only Steven Gerrard (11) has scored more. Roberto Firmino has seven and Mo Salah five.
Salah has scored 18 goals for the Reds in the European Cup/Champions League, more than any other non-Englishman in the club’s history (Gerrard has 30). Firmino and Mane each have 15.
Firmino has missed only one of Liverpool’s 44 European games under Klopp.
Today is Fabinho‘s 26th birthday.
Should he score, Fabinho will be the first Liverpool player to find the net on his birthday since Daniel Sturridge, who scored the only goal of the game against Manchester United at Anfield, in September 2013.
Genk began this European campaign with a 6-2 defeat at Salzburg. They followed that up with a goalless home draw against Napoli in Matchday two.
That loss at Salzburg was their heaviest defeat since the 7-0 defeat at Valencia in the Champions League group stage in November 2011, their biggest in European competition.
Genk have won the Belgian league title four times and the domestic Cup on the same number of occasions.
They are still awaiting their first victory in the Champions League proper, having lost six and drawn eight of 14 matches.
In seven at home they have drawn six, with the only loss coming at the hands of Roma in 2002/03.
Genk’s 1-0 defeat at Standard Liege last Saturday was their first in five games since the heavy defeat at Salzburg, winning three and drawing the other.
They currently lie in sixth place in the Belgian League, 10 points behind Simon Mignolet‘s Club Bruges, who are the leaders.
Ianis Hagi celebrated his 21st birthday the day before this game.
Scorers This Season
Liverpool: Mane 8, Salah 6, Firmino 3, Matip 2, Milner 2, own goals 2 Alexander-Arnold 1, Hoever 1, Lallana 1, Origi 1, Robertson 1, Van Dijk 1, Wijnaldum 1
Genk: Samatta 6, Onuachu 5, Dewaest 2, Heynen 2, Berge 1, Hagi 1, Lucumi 1, Nygren 1, Odey 1, Paintsil 1, Vanzeir 1, own goals 1