Liverpool edge out Genk
Reigning European champions Liverpool earned another win in their impressive 2019-20 campaign with a narrow win over Genk at Anfield on Tuesday night.
Jürgen Klopp’s team had suffered defeat to Napoli in their first group game, which remains their only loss in any tournament so far this season, but they have improved since then, earning three straight wins to close in on the knockout stage of the competition.
The Reds went into the game as strong favourites with sports betting companies, and they led after 14 minutes when Georginio Wijnaldum fired in following a defensive error by Sébastien Dewaest, who made a hash of dealing with a cross by James Milner.
However, with Liverpool not capitalising on their early lead, Genk got back into the game and forward Mbwana Samatta headed in the equaliser just five minutes before the break.
That gave the home side a new challenge, but having got two goals in Belgium when they beat Genk 4-1 last month, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was on target again, scoring the winner at the start of the second half, with a neat turn and shot into the bottom corner.
The win means that Liverpool top the group, with an advantage over Napoli, who were frustrated by a 1-1 draw against Salzburg, but there will be concerns for Klopp ahead of what is likely to be their toughest test of the season so far against Manchester City at the weekend.
The imminence of that clash led Klopp to rest many of his first-choice players, most notably the club captain Jordan Henderson, Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Andy Robertson, and this may partially explain why the team struggled to show their usual dominant form.
However, Klopp will also be worried about the lack of clean sheets on his team’s record.
The Reds have managed only one in their past nine fixtures across all competitions, and this trend could prove to be a threat to their title hopes, given that their solidity at the back was such an important factor in last season’s heroics.
However, speaking to the media after the game, Klopp focused on the number of chances that his team missed, and said that this was a factor in Genk’s resistance:
“We didn’t finish our situations in the way we could have done. We had a lot of shots and some really big chances that we usually use. We didn’t do that, and it kept the game open. That gave them a lot of energy.”
Words: Man Ngo