Liverpool battled their way to a 2-1 win at home to Genk on Tuesday evening, edging one step closer to the Champions League knockout stage qualification.
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Liverpool 2-1 Genk
Champions League Group Stage (4), Anfield
November 5, 2019
Goals: Wijnaldum 14′, Oxlade-Chamberlain 53′; Samatta 40′
The Reds faced arguably their easiest game of the group stage, with unfancied Genk making the trip to Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp made six changes ahead of the crucial weekend visit of Man City and it showed, in what was far from a classic performance.
Gini Wijnaldum produced a clever improvised finish to put Liverpool 1-0 up and they coasted for much of the first half.
The hosts almost seemed to switch off, though, and they were punished before half-time, as Mbwana Samatta headed home unmarked from a corner.
Klopp’s men were improved after the break and the in-form Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fired home in front of the Kop soon after the restart – his fourth goal in as many appearances.
Chances still came at a premium as the contest wore on, and in the end, a tense finale saw Genk threaten to score a shock equaliser.
Liverpool held on, though, on a night that won’t remembered in years to come, but ultimately saw them end it top of Group E.
Napoli’s 1-1 draw with Salzburg was the perfect result, meaning the Merseysiders are leading the way by a point with tow games remaining.
Focus now switches to the potentially season-defining clash with City on Sunday afternoon.
Victory for the Reds would take them nine points clear of Pep Guardiola’s champions, highlighting how pivotal a 90 minutes it could be.