Liverpool laboured to a win over Genk in the Champions League, thanks to goals from Gini Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Liverpool 2-1 Genk
Champions League Group E (Matchday 4)
Anfield; November 5, 2019
Wijnaldum – 14′ (assist: Milner)
Samatta – 40′
Oxlade-Chamberlain – 53′ (assist: Salah)
With one eye on Sunday’s visit of Manchester City to Anfield, Jurgen Klopp made six changes to the side that won at Aston Villa at the weekend, with Andy Robertson, Dejan Lovren, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino rested.
With that City game in mind, all Anfield wanted was a comfortable win, with no injuries, and plenty of energy being conserved. It wasn’t quite what materialised, with no clean sheet again and another nervy finish, but three points were secured and seemingly no injuries.
Oxlade-Chamberlain surprisingly started the game in Firmino’s role as the Reds’ No.9, with Divock Origi on the left and Mohamed Salah on the right.
Liverpool took the lead on 14 minutes, Wijnaldum with a clever finish to turn in the ball after a double deflection on James Milner‘s low cross from the left.
The game lacked tempo, but plenty of chances fell Liverpool’s way, with Salah pulling one shot wide and failing to convert other half-chances.
Liverpool were made to pay for those missed chances and a lack of tempo when Genk equalised five minutes before the break. Samatta headed in completely unmarked off a corner at the Kop end.
HT: Liverpool 1-1 Genk
- Changes aplenty with Sunday’s visit of City in mind
- Oxlade-Chamberlain nets fourth goal of the season
- Certainly not a vintage performance
A tactical tweak at half-time saw Salah move to the middle, with Oxlade-Chamberlain to the left and Origi on the right of attack.
Oxlade-Chamberlain produced a centre-forward’s finish early in the second half, turning and finishing on his left foot into the bottom corner – his third goal against the Belgian side across the two games.
Anfield found its voice, finally, and Liverpool started to play a lot more aggressively than in the first half.
But still the Reds couldn’t make it comfortable, despite their inferior opponent. Half chances came and went, and the tempo again went flat.
Indeed, Genk had chances of their own to level again in the final 10 minutes.
It may have been Bonfire night, but there were certainly few fireworks on the pitch at Anfield. Sunday could be a whole different matter.
The other game in the group, between Napoli and Salzburg, finished 1-1, meaning Liverpool go to the top of the group, a point ahead of Napoli and five ahead of Salzburg.
TIA Man of the Match: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Referee: Ivan Kruzliak (SVK)
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Milner; Fabinho, Keita (Mane 75′), Wijnaldum; Oxlade-Chamberlain (Roberton 75′), Origi (Firmino 89′), Salah
Subs not used: Adrian, Lovren, Lallana, Jones
Genk: Coucke; Cuesta, Dewaest, Lucumi; Maehle, Heynen, Berge, De Norre (Onuachu 85′); Hrosovsky (Bongonda 85′), Ito (Ndongala 68′), Samatta
Subs not used: Vandevoordt, Wouters, Piotrowski, Hagi
Next Match: Man City (H) – Premier League – Sunday, Nov 10, 4.30pm (GMT)