Date published: Wednesday 23rd October 2019 9:54
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain marked his initial Champions League begin in 18 months with two ambitions as Liverpool beat Genk four-1 in Belgium.
The England international missed all but 20 minutes of final season with a significant knee injury sustained in the semi-final win more than Roma in this competitors in April 2018.
He produced up for lost time by generating precisely the sort of efficiency manager Jurgen Klopp expects from him, driving forward from midfield and – a lot more importantly – scoring.
His initial was great, firing property from just outdoors the penalty region, but his second was sublime, flicking a initial-time shot in off the crossbar.
Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah also scored – substitute Stephen Odey grabbed a late consolation for the hosts – as Liverpool recorded their initial away win in the group stage in 5 matches and only their second in 10.
Coincidentally Oxlade-Chamberlain scored in the other good results in that sequence, the 7- victory in Maribor in October in 2017.
Klopp doubled down on the offensive method by choosing the attacking but previously untried choice of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita alongside Fabinho.
It was a midfield the masses on social media had been crying out for but what may well be eye-catching in a virtual planet genuinely requirements to be correctly tested in the genuine one particular.
Significantly less than two minutes in Klopp got his initial indication as Fabinho slipped a sideways pass to Oxlade-Chamberlain who, beneath tiny stress, coolly slotted a low, diagonal 20-yard shot inside the far post.
It was his initial purpose considering the fact that he scored in the three- quarter-final win more than Manchester City in April 2018, of which this strike was reminiscent.
On the other hand, one particular of the drawbacks of such an attacking midfield is the lack of stress on the ball and the space it can leave either side of Fabinho and that was evident in the initial half exactly where Genk could – and in all probability need to – have scored at least after.
Two alterations in defence, with midfielder James Milner and Dejan Lovren replacing Trent Alexander-Arnold (illness) and Joel Matip (knee), contributed to the lack of cohesion but the hosts missed the opportunity to take complete benefit.
Boyhood Manchester United fan Ally Mbwana Samatta screwed a great opportunity wide beneath stress from Keita and Milner’s brilliant recovering, complete-stretch tackle took the ball off the toes of Paul Onuachu just after he also had raced clear.
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Genk had the ball in the net midway by way of the half from Samatta’s far-post header but just after an interminable wait VAR upheld a late assistant referee’s offside flag.
In maintaining with the social media frenzy of the evening Twitter discovered a new result in celebre when Roberto Firmino’s brilliant person ability and vision saw him dink a 5-yard rabona pass on the edge of the region which Mane fired straight at the goalkeeper.
Liverpool tightened items up slightly a lot more in the second half but Salah, on his return to the side just after an ankle injury, endured a frustrating time till his clever reverse-pass permitted Mane to clip the third more than goalkeeper Gaetan Coucke.
That seemed to enliven the Egypt international and he brilliantly turned two tight markers in the penalty region to add the fourth.
But there was only one particular factor getting talked about at the final whistle and that was the resurrection of Oxlade-Chamberlain just after his significant knee injury.
He tends not to score ordinary ambitions and his nonchalant outdoors-of-the-ideal-foot work which cannoned in off the crossbar earlier in the half to make it two- was instinctively brilliant and technically fantastic.
Odey ruined what would have been a fantastic efficiency to give Genk the purpose their initial-half endeavours had threatened.
The defending champions have regained some of their swagger but stay a point behind Napoli, three-two winners more than Salzburg, in Group E.
With a 3-point cushion more than the Austrian club and the return fixture against Genk to come subsequent items are searching comparatively comfy for Klopp’s side.