Liverpool fought off a resilient Genk at Anfield, ultimately coming out 2-1 winners on a night where rotation was key for Jürgen Klopp who undoubtedly had one eye on the game against Manchester City on Sunday.
Georginio Wijnaldum opened the scoring before Mbwana Samatta got a goal back for the visitors with their only corner of the game late in the first half.
The Reds came back in the second half and applied the pressure on their visitors who eventually cracked when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain repeated his goal-scoring antics from the reverse fixture to put Liverpool ahead.
Despite the victory, Liverpool at times looked suspect at the back and Klopp will be hoping to iron out those issues before City come to Anfield in a few days time.
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Here’s how the players rated…
Ali 7.5 — Aside from catching a cross and picking the ball out of his net, Ali must have been bored s***less until he produced important saves late in the second half to keep us ahead.
Trent 7 — His usual consistent self. Bombing down the right wing to his hearts content and whipping in crosses as if it was nothing. Was tested more defensively in the second half but he was more than up to the challenge on most occasions.
JoGo 5 — Didn’t do all that well. Quite an unimpressionable performance by the young centre back. Looking far from his best in what was a rare first-team appearance this season. Genk targeted him in the second half as any possible equaliser looked likely to come down his flank.
Big Virg 7 — Wasted a handful of opportunities to score in the first half however made up for it with an imperious defensive performance in the second. Enough has been said about how good this man is so I’m finding it hard to add any other description. Let’s just say it was Virg being Virg.
Milly 7 — Liverpool’s captain on the night. Yorkshire’s answer to Superman deputised well for Andy Robertson and apart from the number on his back and the use of his right foot you wouldn’t have told the difference. The Ribena chugging machine got up and down the pitch as if it was nothing and had a major hand in Liverpool’s opener. Chuffing brilliant.
Fabs 8 — Our daddy long legs in midfield was again immense as we have become so accustomed too. The Brazilian enjoyed his return to the starting lineup and went about enjoying his destroyer duties in the middle of the park. Although somewhat lacking when it came to his creative output, defensively he was brilliant as Genk tried their hardest to avoid him but he was everywhere and he won everything.
Gini 7.5 — The scorer of Liverpool’s opener on the night, the Dutchman looked like he adopted a different role for the game, one more akin to that of his national team as opposed to the workman like role he is usually tasked with a club level. This more advanced position gave him the freedom to drift higher up the pitch and affect Liverpool’s attack in a more creative manner — it’s how his goal came. A late run into the box saw him benefit greatly from a defensive mishap in the Genk back line and he was able to flick the ball into the roof of the net from point blank range. I really don’t understand how some of our fanbase don’t rate him.
Ox 7.5 — Provided the Reds with an injection of pace in the midfield and looked a threat in his all round play. He advanced the ball well and showed his passing range also as he pinged the ball across the field throughout the match. As well as his general play, the Ox showed how dangerous he can be when he gets up the pitch as he smashed Liverpool back into the lead with a swift left footed strike into the bottom corner. Four goals in four games for the new No.15.
Naby 7 — Easily his best performance of the season in the first half. God I hope he stays fit. He just looks like different sauce out there, he glided across the Anfield pitch and made it look like the easiest thing in the world. Genk couldn’t get anywhere near him. Like a slippery little seal evading an inexperienced great white shark, Keïta was untouchable as he slithered his way past what seemed like every challenge and almost grabbed himself a goal in the first half. The lack of game time showed in the second half however as his performance dipped and he impacted the match less and less. Eventually replaced by Robbo.
Mo 9 — Looked all round dangerous in his play, however did not cause any direct concern to the Genk keeper as he looked semi-lacklustre when it came to finishing off his opportunities. With this being said, Salah who is usually labelled as greedy, did well in terms of creation for Liverpool as he tried to play cute balls in and around the opposition penalty box for his teammates. As well as his all round general play, Salah did exceptionally well for Liverpool’s second goal as he held up the ball before turning his marker and laying it off to the goalscorer Chamberlain. My man of the match without a doubt, did everything but score.
Divvy 7 — The living club legend did well and looked a continuous threat to the Genk back line. Linked up well with Salah and, in typical fashion, chased down every ball as he put in yet another shift for the team. Deserved to be on the scoresheet.
Robbo N/A — Did some running.
Sadio N/A — Did some running.
Bobby N/A — Had no time to do any running.