Player ratings as Liverpool sparkle in Genk
Liverpool can't stop scoring.
Genk's last meeting against an English side was back in the 2011-12 Champions League group stages where they drew 1-1 at home before losing 5-0 at Stamford Bridge. Liverpool meanwhile have won all five of the prior games against Belgian sides in Europe, including a 1-0 win over Club Brugge in the 1978 European Cup final.
Additionally, English teams are on a 14 game unbeaten streak against Belgian sides in the Champions League, and that streak was about to continue here.
Liverpool started brilliantly pressing well and their efforts found fruition when in the second minute, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain scored a delightful goal from outside the box in the second minute to give The Reds an early lead. One might have expected the flood gates to open after that but it was far from the case.
Time and again, Genk found themselves in dangerous counterattacking situations against Liverpool but failed to punish their guests when they had the chance. Liverpool gave an inkling as to why they have conceded five goals in three games so far. Liverpool played a high line and it helped to unnerve Genk as they were called for offside on no less than five occasions including a goal in the 25th minute. For all their play, they failed to put the game to bed and in the first half, Genk threatened to score with a number of quality chances on the break and even had the ball in the back of the net courtesy of Samatta in the 25th minute – but VAR ended up denying them a deserved goal.
The Pool improved massively in the second half with a clinical display. The mercurial front three linked up well and two of the three got on the scoresheet to round off a commanding victory. But Klopp and co will not have been pleased to have conceded a goal and a clean sheet so late in the game but it was nothing less than Genk deserved given how well they played against the reigning European champions.
Victory leaves the Reds in second place in the group with six points, one point behind Napoli. With this result, Genk have set a record for the number of games played in Europe without winning– 15 matches.
Here's how we rated Liverpool players following a string victory against Genk:
Alisson - 7
Playing in his second game since returning from injury. Had to make a brilliant stop in the 8th minute and will be very annoyed to lose his clean sheet so late in the game (87th minute) and getting nutmegged in the process won't have been pleasant either.
James Milner - 6
Donning the captain's armband and put in a decent shift at right-back before switching to the left after Robertson was substituted. A highlight of his game was a deft flick for Firmino in the 33rd minute to set the Brazilian off into the penalty box but that was about it. Lost his marker when Samatta scored in the 25th minute to break Liverpool hearts but ended up off the leash after the effort was chalked off for offside. Was a little error-strewn and this wasn't his best showing.
Dejan Lovren - 7.5
Good showing. Burst through on the right flank in the 52nd minute to help build play but the move ended up fizzling out. Despite the threatening displays from the Genk forwards, he did well to keep them at bay.
Virgil Van Dijk - 7.5
Did his usual thing of shielding his goal well and yelling at teammates who don't. Helped cover for Fabinho and Robertson when they ventured higher up the pitch but should've done better for the only Genk goal conceded after brilliant work by Ndongala to dribble past him.
Andy Robertson - 6
Caught out of position in the 39th minute when Junya Ito skinned him to ping a deadly ball across the face of goal which ended up going unpunished. Was kept busy by the pace and explosiveness of Ito on the left. Not his best game by his lofty standards.
Fabinho - 7
Had nice touches and interceptions throughout the game. Did struggle on occasion against Genk's counterattacking tactics. Had a decent effort on goal in the 43rd minute but overall a good effort.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - 9.5
Scored his first goal since last year's quarterfinal victory over Manchester City in the 2017-18 Champions League final. Made his presence felt all over the pitch, won the ball in good attacking areas and did well to build play throughout the game. And then, scored a beauty of a goal with a slice off his right boot. Genuine art in motion. if any among the Liverpool faithful might have forgotten about this man during his lengthy injury spell, he's properly reminded them who and what he is capable of. Take a bow, sir.
Naby Keita- 6.5
Keita lost his marker and was left scrambling back after a brilliant overhead pass released Samatta on the counter and in a good one on one situation with Alisson but thankfully for Keita, the shot ended up wide in the end. Improved greatly in the second half – put an incisive pass into the box which eventually ended up as Liverpool's second goal. Consistently found teammates with good passes
Mohammed Salah - 8
Missed a good chance in the 66th minute and didn't look as sharp as we know he can be but still performed admirably. Got an assist for Mane in the 77th minute before getting on the scoresheet in the 87th minute. Showed strength and lovely skill to grab Liverpool's fourth of the game.
Sadio Mane - 9.5
Linked up well with his partner in crime Firmino and Salah throughout the game and got a couple of shots away but was struggling to make a proper impact on the game until his goal in the 77th minute. A lovely dink finish to grab Liverpool's third goal before assisting Salah for the fourth. Top class performance as has been the case all season.
Roberto Firmino - 8
Was his usual sparkling self. Took a while to get going in the game but ending up making an important mark on the match. Put on a peach of rabona pass to set off Mane on goal. Had a free-roaming role, lost possession on more than once occasion and suffered from uncharacteristic mistouches and was quiet by his standards. Grabbed his 8th assist of the season with a pass for Chamberlain who curled a beauty into the top left corner.
Joe Gomez (62nd minute) - 4
Came in for Robertson and slotted into right-back with Milner switching to the left flank. Got a needless yellow card for denying Ndongala from taking a quick throw-in and then was at fault for Genk's only goal of the game after losing possession on the right flank. Probably the only poor showing of all the Liverpool players.
Gini Wijnaldum (74th minute) - 5
Came on for the brilliant Chamberlain and did well in the buildup to the third goal, had a good effort on goal in the 82nd minute but skewed the shot wide. Overall, couldn't have as much of an impact due to his limited time on the pitch.
Divock Origi (80th minute)
No rating. He only played for around 10 minutes and couldn't make any significant impact on the game.
The most terrifying trio in football 😱 pic.twitter.com/rCsF9DHgM1
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) October 23, 2019