Liverpool got back to winning ways following a draw at Old Trafford, defeating Genk 4-1 to claim their first Champions League away group win since a 2017 victory over Maribor.
Jürgen Klopp made five changes to the side that featured against Manchester United at the weekend. James Milner, Dejan Lovren, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keïta and Mohamed Salah all started for the Reds, replacing Divock Origi, Joël Matip, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gini Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson.
It didn’t take long for the Reds to take the lead, scoring in the second minute thanks to a typical Oxlade-Chamberlain effort. Liverpool advanced up the pitch slowly after they recovered possession, with the ball finding its way to Fabinho who had acres of space.
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The Brazilian lifted his head and found the unmarked Englishman on the edge of the box and the unchallenged midfielder took a touch before stroking the ball into the corner of the net. 1-0 Liverpool.
Despite the early lead, Liverpool didn’t dominate the opening of the match as would have been expected with the Reds needing to call on Alisson to bail them out on a couple of occasions after a few long balls over their defence were latched onto by Ebere Paul Onuachu.
As the game developed, Liverpool began to take control. However, the long ball continued to be a useful tool for Genk to get in behind the Premier League outfit with the tactic almost drawing the Belgian side level.
A long ball down to Junya Ito saw the Japanese international play a ball into the box which was headed into the back of the net by Mbwana Samatta. The Tanzanian front man wheeled away in celebration but, unfortunately for him, referee Slavko Vinčić ruled it out for offside, with VAR confirming the decision to be correct.
Klopp would have hoped that the disallowed goal would’ve served as a wake up call to his boys, however, despite their dominance of possession Liverpool continued to look suspect at the back with Ito posing a continuous threat down the right flank.
Much like at the weekend in the Premier League, the Reds saw most of the ball but didn’t offer much direct threat to the goal of their opposition. At half time Liverpool even looked fortunate to be 1-0 up.
The second half saw the Reds improve defensively and look slightly more threatening going forward. Despite a few wayward passes towards the start of the half, the European champions soon found their groove and double their lead on the 57th minute thanks to another Oxlade-Chamberlain strike.
A good passage of play saw Keïta clip the ball into the box where Roberto Firmino controlled it in a calm fashion before turning and slotting the ball to the edge of the area where Oxlade-Chamberlain was again waiting unmarked.
Unlike with his first goal of the game, the England international decided to take the shot first time, flicking the ball in off the crossbar with the deftest of touches using the outside of his right boot. 2-0 Liverpool.
Following the goal, the Reds continued to dominate possession and seemed to slow the game down possibly with an eye on the weekend’s fixture against Tottenham Hotspur. With this being said they remained dangerous in attack and netted their third through Sadio Mané on the 77th minute.
A quick throw in down the right saw Firmino receive the ball in space. The Brazilian turned and fed the ball of to Mohamed Salah who set Mané in behind the Genk defence with a through pass into space.
The Senegalese hitman burst into the box and dinked the ball over the helpless ‘keeper to make it 3-0. It wasn’t long before the cruising Reds made it 4-0, with Mané returning the favour and assisting Salah in the 87th minute.
The Senegalese will get the assist, however, it was very much all Salah who held off his marker before skipping past a host of Genk defenders and slipping it into the bottom corner of the Belgian net. 4-0 Liverpool.
Despite their apparent control of the match, a lapse in concentration by Lovren allowed Genk to pounce, winning back possession before teeing up Stephen Odey in the 88th minute to make it 4-1.