Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Liverpool celebrates with teammate Sadio Mane after scoring his team's first goal during the UEFA Champions League group E match between KRC Genk and Liverpool FC at Luminus Arena
Champions League Group E, Luminus Arena - Genk 1 (Odey 88') Liverpool 4 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 2', 57'; Mane 77'; Salah 87')
After taking the lead inside 120 seconds in Genk, Liverpool survived a few first half scares before securing an ultimately emphatic victory against the Belgian champions.
All four of the European champions’ goals were laced with quality, but the highlight was surely the second. Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino combined to tee up Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the edge of the penalty area. His sumptuous shot with the outside of his right foot clipped the crossbar and bounced high into the net. It will surely be a contender for the Champions League’s Goal of the Season award.
Oxlade-Chamberlain had opened the scoring, with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah adding two late goals before Stephen Odey’s consolation for Genk. The home side gave an energetic display but were ultimately outclassed by their opponents.
Liverpool are now on six points in Group E, a point behind group leaders Napoli. Genk are bottom of the group but showed enough to suggest that they might still take the Europa League place on offer for the third-placed team. Liverpool will host Genk on matchday four on Tuesday 5th November.
2’ GOAL! KRC Genk 0 Liverpool 1 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 2) What a start! Cuesta coughs the ball up to Liverpool near halfway, and they eventually work it to Oxlade-Chamberlain on the edge of the area. He arrows a low drive definitively into the bottom corner, with Coucke rooted to the spot.
8’ CHANCE FOR GENK! The long ball over the top catches Liverpool out again. Onuachu gets away from Lovren and into the area, hammering a shot at goal that Alisson saves well with one hand before reclaiming the ball. Milner's sliding challenge looked to have put Onuachu off.
26’ DISALLOWED GOAL! Ito whips a ball to the back post, and Samatta thunders a header past Alisson, flattening Milner as he does so. The referee immediately chalks it off - but why? It's being VAR checked and Ito was offside.
57’ GOAL! KRC Genk 0 Liverpool 2 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 57) What a stunning goal by Oxlade-Chamberlain! Keita clips a sweet ball into Firmino in the area. The Brazilian swivels and lays it off to Oxlade-Chamberlain in the D, who stabs a shot with the outside of his right foot that clips the underside of the bar and bounces into the roof of the net! Coecke was utterly rooted again.
77’ GOAL! KRC Genk 0 Liverpool 3 (Mane 77) It's another stunning goal. Wijnaldum wins the ball on the left, and finds Firmino. The Brazilian reverses it inside to Salah, who in turn pokes a delicate through ball into the area. Mane races onto it, and deftly chips it over the diving Coecke. Brilliant, clinical stuff.
87’ GOAL! KRC Genk 0 Liverpool 4 (Salah 87) Yet another stunner from Liverpool. Mane gets the ball in the Genk, facing away from goal and with Cuesta all over him. Salah spins away from the challenge and around the covering Lucumi, like Superman coming out of a phone box, and tucks his shot in off the post.
88’ GOAL! KRC Genk 1 (Odey 88) Liverpool 4 A consolation! Genk work a nice move in the bottom left corner, and Ndongala cuts to the six yard box and trickles a cross square of him. It finds Odey, who spins 180 degrees to tuck a low shot past Alisson.
Image credit: Getty Images
Are Liverpool’s troubles on their travels over? Much has been made of Liverpool’s struggles away from home in the Champions League in the group stages in the last two seasons. On top of this, they also failed to win an away game in the knockout rounds in 2017-18 and then in Munich and Barcelona on the way to victory last season. As long as they keep reaching finals it shouldn’t concern them too much; tonight it felt like KRC Genk took a punishment beating for the suggestion that Liverpool might be vulnerable on the road in European competition.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool)
The midfielder has been the ghost at the feast in Liverpool’s recent European glories. He picked up a serious knee injury when Liverpool beat AS Roma to reach the final in 2018 and was an unused substitute when the Reds triumphed in Madrid in June. Now he has fully recovered, and he had a magical European night of his own in Genk. His first goal was nice enough but the second – a gorgeous, almost contemptuous strike with the outside of his right foot – would be a career highlight for any player.