UEFA Champions League title holders Liverpool hosted Genk at Anfield Road this Tuesday in the UCL Group Stages. It was Matchday 4 and with an eye on the decisive Sunday clash against Manchester City, their main rivals in the Premier League title race, the Reds were economical and defeated Genk 2-1. Gini Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored for the hosts, as Mbwana Samata pulled a goal back for the Belgians.
The win led Liverpool to 9 points, as the Reds also moved up to first place in Group E, as previous leaders Napoli drew 1-1 with RB Salzburg at the San Paolo Stadium. With the draw, Napoli counts on 8 points, and Salzburg has 4. Group E’s rock bottoms, Genk, have only a point and don’t have any chances of qualifying to the next phase.
Liverpool played enough to win this Tuesday. Jurgen Klopp went for resting some key players for the Man City game and benched Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Andrew Robertson, Dejan Lovren, and Jordan Henderson.
The first half was a Liverpool massacre, but the team found it difficult to swing Genk’s net even though they opened the scoring after 13 minutes. James Milner received a Divock Origi pass down the left and crossed it. The ball hit two athletes from the opposing team before it was left for Wijnaldum, who found the top corner from close-range. 1-0 Liverpool.
The Reds kept having great chances, but couldn’t score. In Genk’s first attempt on target, they punished Liverpool. On 40 mins, Samata went higher than Milner to head home from a corner. 1-1.
After the break, Liverpool made their second early in the second half and held Genk to guarantee the three points. On 53 mins, Mohamed Salah got a rebounded ball on the edge of the area and assisted the Ox, who controlled the ball and showed class to score into the opposite corner from Genk’s keeper. It’s his 4th goal in the past 4 games! What a lovely finish. 2-1 Liverpool.
The Reds got the job done, and now depends on a simple win, or maybe even a draw ahead Napoli on November 27 to book their place to the Round of 16 in the European Cup. On to Man City at Anfield on Sunday. In case of a Red win, they will move up to nine points clear on top of the League.