Genk 1 - 4 Liverpool
Genk: Odey 88’
Liverpool: Oxlade-Chamberlain 2’ 57’ Mane 77’, Salah 87’
It’s an exciting call from Jurgen Klopp, with both Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita coming into the midfield. You people complained about the “Brexit midfield?” Well, have some of that. Elsewhere James Milner and Dejan Lovren come in for Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joel Matip, who are out from illness and injury, respectively. Annnnd finally, Mohamed Salah returns to the line-up. Are you not entertained? Liverpool will be looking to take all three points, and hopefully take a lead in the group if the results shake out the right way.
GOAL! Well, that didn’t take long. What was the hold up, Napoli? The Genk defense paid way too much respect to the Reds, and they were punished accordingly. Fabinho played a relatively easy ball into the feet of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who took a touch and fired a hard, low shot from outside the box, easily beating the keeper far post. Welcome back to the Champions League, Ox.
Genk have responded well, nearly getting in twice with long balls over the top. FC Midtjylland oldboy Paul Onuachu had a particularly good chance, but Alisson was up to the challenge, smoothering the shot from close range.
Is Bobby Firmino messin’? He nearly gives the assist of the year with a perfectly-weighted Rabona into Sadio Mane’s path, but the Senegalese cannot convert. I am sad.
Though, less sad, because moments later Genk put the ball in the back of the net, but it’s correctly judged to be offside. Win some and lose some, I guess. But still sad over the not-quite-an-assist from Bobby.
Liverpool have shown some good stuff going forward, but they’ve been sloppy in possession as the half draws to a close. Genk have shown some danger going forward, so a second goal sooner rather than later would be appreciated.
Liverpool still looking sloppy, and Mo is a major culprit. He’s been a threat, but poor touches and worse passes have halted forward progess on several occasions tonight. Mo had a chance to play in Mane in the opening minutes of the second half, but his through ball was hit straight at the lone Genk defender. On the other side of the coin, Keita is absolutely bossing the midfield. What a bonus he could be if he stays healthy!
GOAL!! AND WHAT A GOAL IT IS! Bobby creates a bit of space for himself in the area before laying it off to Ox at the top of the box, and he hits it first time with the outside of the boot. It kisses the underside of the crossbar, and it’s two for Ox, and two for Liverpool!
Klopp makes his first change of the night on the hour, hooking an exhausted Andy Robertson for Joe Gomez. Joe takes over at rightback, shuffling James Milner over to the left. And within ten minutes Gomez goes into the book for preventing a quick throw-in from Genk. Probably worth it.
With twenty to go, Klopp brings on his safety blanket, Gini Wijnaldum, on for Ox. Take a bow, Chambo, great night out.
GOAL!!! Mane makes it three! The front three finally pull off an attacking move! Firmino plays it to Salah in space, who in turn plays in Sadio. The Senegalese finishes with a perfect little chip over the oncoming goalkeeper. 3-0 to the Scousers!
Origi comes on for Klopp’s last change of the night, replacing Firmino.
GOAL! Mane will technically get the assist, but it was all Mo there. Sadio plays it to Salah at the top of the box, and he fights his way through the bear-hug to score with his right boot. Tonight is full of surprises including...
Goal. With regulation time winding down, the hosts score a sloppy goal. The lads will not be happy giving up their clean sheet, but it won’t matter too much in the end.
You can’t ask much more from a European away, and with a heavily changed line up at that. There were some nervy moments, especially in the first half, but Liverpool simply outclassed their Belgian opponents tonight and are one step closer to qualifying for the knockout rounds.