Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored twice as Liverpool outlasted a strong effort from their Belgian hosts in a 4-1 win over Genk in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday.
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Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah scored late goals to finish off the Belgians, though Stephen Odey scored an 88th minute goal after the Reds had rounded out their 4-star day.
Liverpool’s six points are one behind Napoli and three ahead of Red Bull Salzburg at the midway point of Group E play.
1. “New signing” shines: Remember when Jurgen Klopp loudly proclaimed that a healthy Oxlade-Chamberlain sufficed as a new summer signing? The playmaker was fantastic in just his third start of the season. In addition to two well-taken goals, “The Ox” completed 89 percent of his passes and was credited with 79 touches, two tackles, and two dribbles.
2. “Offensive” banner brings abrupt response: Liverpool striker Divock Origi began his youth career with Genk well before he became a Champions League winner, and a banner hung in the crowd caused both clubs to issue strong statements about its being “deeply offensive.” Liverpool said the banner, which depicted Origi’s face photoshopped on a naked body next to the UCL trophy, “perpetuated a racist stereotype.”
3. Reds defense falls asleep late: It wasn’t a great evening for center back Dejan Lovren, who was stripped of the ball in a sleepy move on the touch line, but about six teammates could’ve done something as Genk toyed with the Reds in the box to get a late concession. Not a big deal, no, but a small on-field blemish on an otherwise wonderful afternoon.
Man of the Match: Oxlade-Chamberlain
The “Ox” put the Reds on top with a nice low drive through traffic, but the first half was not without its dodgy moments.
Indeed, Genk thought it had an equalizer before halftime, but VAR revealed a narrow offside in the build-up. Warning sign seen by the Reds?
Mane scored before setting up Salah for 4-0, the Egyptian doing a load of work to snub several defenders.