Reds strong favourites to prevail in Belgium – Genk vs. Liverpool Preview

Liverpool are back in Champions League action on Wednesday night, heading to Genk as comfortable favourites to pick up all three points.

Genk vs. Liverpool

Wednesday, October 23, 2019 – 8pm (BST)
Luminus Arena
Champions League Group Stage (3)
Referee: Slavko Vincic (SVN)

The Reds were well short of their best at Man United on Sunday, producing arguably their poorest performance of 2019 to-date.

Fortunately, Adam Lallana bailed his side out late on, with the eventual 1-1 draw just about keeping Liverpool’s momentum going.

Jurgen Klopp‘s men trade Premier League duties for European commitments in midweek, looking for a first away win in the Champions League since April.

They haven’t quite got going in the competition yet this season, but this is a wonderful opportunity to improve their chances of reaching the last 16.

Genk's Bryan Heynen, Genk's Junya Ito and Genk's Leandro Trossard celebrate during a soccer match between KRC Genk and Royal Antwerp FC, Friday 03 May 2019 in Genk, on day 7 (out of 10) of the Play-off 1 of the 'Jupiler Pro League' Belgian soccer championship. BELGA PHOTO YORICK JANSENS

Genk are very much the minnows of Group E, having been dismantled 6-2 by Salzburg before doing well to earn a 0-0 draw with Napoli.

Formed in 1988, they are still in their relative infancy as a club and will view anything other than defeat as a bonus on Wednesday.

Liverpool should be far too strong for their opponents—this is the first-ever meeting between the pair—even if Klopp decides to rotate a little before the weekend visit of Tottenham.

Being European champions brings with it a certain aura and it would be a huge surprise if the Reds didn’t return home with a victory.


Team News

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 5, 2019: Leicester City's Hamza Choudhury is shown a yellow card after a late tackle on Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool have new injury problems to contend with after the United game, with both Trent Alexander-Arnold (virus) and Joel Matip (sore knee) ruled out.

Xherdan Shaqiri is still missing, too, as he recovers from a calf tear.

That means Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren will likely come into the defence at right-back and centre-back respectively.

Mohamed Salah is back after overcoming the ankle injury picked up against Leicester, though, which acts as a major boost.

Alterations could take place in midfield, with Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lallana all impressing from the substitutes’ bench at Old Trafford.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 19, 2019: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jordan Henderson finds himself in a bad run of form and a break from the team is needed, both for himself and the good of the side.

Keita would be the most exciting option to come in, as he looks to finally hit the heights expected of him when he joined from RB Leipzig.

Divock Origi yet again showed that he is ineffective as a starter on Sunday, so it would be nice to see him used from the bench.

Genk manager Felice Mazzu is without goalkeeper Danny Vukovic and left-back Neto Borges, but otherwise has a fully fit squad to choose from.

Possible Liverpool XI: Alisson; Gomez, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Milner, Keita; Salah, Mane, Firmino


Luminus Arena

Address: Stadionplein, 3600 Genk, Belgium

Capacity: 24,956


Did You Know?

NAPLES, ITALY - Tuesday, September 17, 2019: Liverpool's goalkeeper Adrián San Miguel del Castillo looks dejected as a penalty is awarded to SSC Napoli during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC at the Studio San Paolo. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Despite their memorable Champions League triumph last season, Liverpool have actually lost their last four away group stage matches.

It all started with a 1-0 defeat at Napoli last year, before Red Star Belgrade shocked Klopp’s team with a 2-0 triumph.

Paris Saint-Germain then edged out Liverpool 2-1 at Parc des Princes and this season started with a 2-0 loss in Naples.

There is a feeling that the Reds aren’t quite hitting top gear in big away games – that has to change on Wednesday evening.



MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 19, 2019: Liverpool's Adam Lallana celebrates scoring a late equalising goal to level the score 1-1 during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Genk – Last five results (all competitions)

Lost 1-0 vs. Standard Liege
Won 2-1 vs. Royal Excel Mouscron
Drew 0-0 vs. Napoli
Drew 3-3 vs. Sint-Truiden
Won 3-0 vs. Ronse

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Drew 1-1 vs. Man United
Won 2-1 vs. Leicester
Won 4-3 vs. Salzburg
Won 1-0 vs. Sheffield United
Won 2-0 vs. MK Dons


Klopp’s View

Speaking to the press on Tuesday, Klopp warned that the Reds’ away form in Europe needed to pick up:

“Last year we were lucky with how tight the group was. You could lose three times away and still have a chance to make it through—it won’t happen this year.

“We don’t rely on home games; obviously we like to say European nights at Anfield are special but others can say that too.

“We know that’s not historically good, but in general the Champions League was really good, we did the right things in right moments. We know we have to improve and we try again until it works out.”


TV & Liveblog Info

NAPLES, ITALY - Tuesday, September 17, 2019: The official Adidas match ball during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC at the Studio San Paolo. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Genk vs. Liverpool is live on BT Sport 2 from 7pm (BST), with kickoff at 8pm.

Ben Twelves is in charge of This is Anfield’s matchday live blog, keeping you updated from 7.15pm.