KRC Genk vs Liverpool
| Wednesday, October 23rd |
Champions League | Luminus Arena
8PM BST / 3PM EST
Another busy stretch of matches has begun for the Reds, with the draw at Old Trafford on Sunday marking the start of a 21-day run containing seven matches, culminating in a visit from title rivals Manchester City on November 11th.
First up, however, is a trip to Belgium, where Liverpool will attempt to further course correct their Champions League campaign after a loss and a win in their opening two fixtures. Their opponents sit bottom of Group E after earning a draw with Napoli last time round, and will be looking to play spoilers to the reigning champions on Wednesday.
Back in the Jupiler League, Genk have failed to build on last year’s title win and sit sixth, on 17 points after 11 matches, having just lost to second placed Standard Liege on Saturday. De Smurfen play an interesting brand of football, capable of lining up in a number of formations, but have generally struggled in defence this year, keeping a clean sheet on only two occasions in the league.
Largely, manager Felice Mazzù relies on striker Mbwana Samatta and Paul Onuachu to keep them in the game, and should the Nigerian and Tanzanian fail to get on the score sheet tomorrow, it is likely the hosts will struggle to get a result.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Gomez, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Milner, Keïta; Mané, Firmino, Salah
For the visitors, there is no time to sit around and mope about two points dropped to the Fighting Martin Atkinsons at the weekend, and a double header with the reigning Belgian champions seems like an ideal opportunity to take point in their Champions League group.
Alisson is back between the sticks, but the backline will need a shakeup, as both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joël Matip will miss out, through illness and injury, respectively. With Nathaniel Clyne’s whereabouts and state of health unknown, this likely means a return to the starting XI for both Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez, with the latter deputising at right-back.
This lack of creativity from the right, and presumed added defensive stability could mean a more daring midfield than Jürgen Klopp has typically preferred in Europe, and both Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keïta could be in line for a start. A return for James Milner might also be on the cards.
Up top, Mohamed Salah is reportedly ready for action, having missed out at the weekend, and Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané are as always likely to participate.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “They were champions last year and they lost some decisive players, but they are doing very well again. If they hadn’t lost at the weekend they would have been really close to the top two. We expect a really good side, that’s all.”
Felice Mazzù: “Most important tomorrow for our team is believing we can achieve a good result. We did that against Napoli and that will also have to be against Liverpool. The will to want to play a good match must be there.”
The Officials (SVN)
Referee: Slavko Vinčić
Assistant referees: Tomaž Klančnik, Andraž Kovačič
Fourth official: Rade Obrenovič
Video Assistant Referees: Paolo Valeri (ITA), Jure Praprotnik (SVN)
Kickoff is set for 8PM GMT/3PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.