It was not a vintage performance. It was far from a European night at Anfield that will be remembered for long. But, in the end, Liverpool got themselves a 2-1 win over Genk that put them top of Group E, and took a big step towards qualification for the Round of 16. Gini Wijnaldum’s early goal was cancelled out by Mbwana Samatta’s header just before half-time. But Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain stepped up to score the winner, and become the Reds’ joint top-scorer in the Champions League so far.
With Jurgen Klopp ringing in the changes and leaving Andy Robertson, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino on the bench ahead of the weekend’s clash against Man City, it was always the result that mattered, and not so much the performance. So, all in all, one can say that it was a good night for the Reds at Anfield.
Here’s how each player fared
Alisson Becker – 7/10
A spectator for large parts of it, couldn’t do much to keep Samatta’s header out. But made a big save late from a Bryan Heynen shot, to keep the lead intact. He’ll be annoyed at another game without a clean sheet though.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6/10
Set-piece delivery was sharp, but didn’t cross the ball as often as we’re used to seeing him do from open play. There were gaps between him and Gomez that Genk tried to exploit late in the game.
Joe Gomez – 6/10
A much better performance than we’ve seen from him recently. He didn’t shirk off the challenge of being physical against Samatta, and won his fair share of headers.
Virgil van Dijk – 7/10
Cruised through most of the game. Should’ve done better when Trent found him unmarked twice, from corners. Defensively solid.
James Milner – 6/10
An industrious performance, but as you’d expect when he plays at left-back, he couldn’t really influence play in the final third. Moved to midfield for the last 15 minutes after Robertson came on.
Fabinho – 6/10
Some uncharacteristically sloppy moments, as he gave the ball away a few times when he could’ve made better decisions. But largely kept play ticking and won his duels.
Naby Keita – 7/10
A superb first half, which could’ve only been made better had he managed to get his shooting sorted. Faded away after the break, before being replaced by Robertson.
Gini Wijnaldum – 7/10
Took his goal superbly. Could’ve done a lot better in open play apart from that, as he ignored several menacing runs from Trent, and slowed down the play.
Divock Origi – 6/10
Industrious, and some nice tricks and flicks. Missed a gaping opportunity at the end of the first half, which was the first shot in his Champions League career that didn’t end up in the back of the net.
Mo Salah – 7/10
Was always a menace with his runs in behind the Genk defence. Set up Chamberlain’s winner with a nice assist. But guilty of trying a little too hard in the box and losing the ball.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 8/10
The drive, the pressing, the goal, all superb. His third goal in the Champions League this season, his fourth goal in his last four games, and things are building up nicely for the Ox after the injury.
Sadio Mane – 6/10
Had fifteen minutes on the pitch. Didn’t really threaten the Genk goal, but a nice day off (largely) for him.
Andy Robertson – 6/10
Roberto Firmino – N/A
Came on in the 88th minute.