Liverpool beat Genk 2-1 to edge closer to last-16 Champions League qualification

Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game against Genk . (Photo by Martin Rickett/EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images)
Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game against Genk . (Photo by Martin Rickett/EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images)

Liverpool returned to the top of the Champions League group with a narrow but convincing 2-1 victory over Genk at Anfield.

Goals from Georginio Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain secured the win despite a slight scare when Mbwana Samatta had earlier equalised for the Belgian side.

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As expected, Liverpool dominated from kick off and it wasn’t long before they were ahead. 

With just 13 minutes on the clock, James Milner found himself unmarked on the left-hand side and as the Belgians failed to deal with his low cross, an advanced Wijnaldum was able to hook the ball into the roof of the net with an inventive effort from close range. 

The European champions were in total control and looked to press home their advantage. A long range Milner effort was easily held by Genk keeper Couke before Naby Keita found his way into the box but was is denied twice in a matter of minutes.

The Guinean midfielder saw his first shot from an angle stabbed away by the Couke before being presented with a second effort from a similar position which was blocked as it was fired across the six-yard box.

Liverpool’s next chance to double their advantage fell to Mohamed Salah who, from a favourable position on the left hand side, dragged his left footed effort wide of the far post when you’d have backed him to hit the target.  

Keita then saw a long-range effort fly wide after Genk again failed to properly clear a corner as a second goal seemed increasingly inevitable. 

Wijnaldum puts Liverpool in front
Wijnaldum puts Liverpool in front
Genk's Mbwana Samatta celebrates after scoring the equaliser. (Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images)
Genk's Mbwana Samatta celebrates after scoring the equaliser. (Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images)

The goal did come but to the surprise of everyone in the stadium, it didn’t go the way of the home side. 

A rare Genk attack saw Joakim Maehle whip in a cross from the right, forcing Trent Alexander-Arnold to put the ball out for a corner and denying Samatta an easy finish in the process. 

From the resulting kick, Bryan Heynen’s ball found the Tanzanian who powered a header beyond Alisson to stun the Kop into silence. 

The goal seemed to spark the visitors into life and within a minute, Heynen hit a shot wide of Alisson’s right hand post for what would have been an unlikely half time lead. 

Liverpool came out firing after the break however and it took just seven minutes for Klopp’s team to restore their lead. 

Salah’s quick and clever feet bamboozled his marker allowing him to lay the ball off the Oxlade-Chamberlain on the edge of the penalty area. The England man was then allowed to turn and fire past Couke for 2-1.

Liverpool continued pile on the pressure as they chased a third with Salah and Origi going close before Alexander-Arnold blazed over from distance.

A late Genk flurry saw Heynen go close but Alisson was equal to his effort. 

The Reds saw out the victory and subsequently leap-frogged Napoli to top Group E with two games remaining following the Italians’ home draw with Salzburg.

For Klopp and his side, attention now turns back to the Premier League and that huge table-topping clash against Manchester City at the weekend. 

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