Champions League

Liverpool on brink of Champions League knockouts

2019-11-06 06:27
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Getty Images)

Liverpool - Liverpool closed in on qualification for the knockout stage of the Champions League on Tuesday after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain shot them to a 2-1 win over Genk to put them top of Group E.

Oxlade-Chamberlain struck the winner with a neat turn and finish seven minutes after the break to put the European champions ahead after a bullet header from Genk's Mbwana Samatta had cancelled out Georginio Wijnaldum's opener.

However it was not as comfortable as the 4-1 win in Belgium last time out thanks to some wasteful finishing that allowed bottom side Genk, who have been eliminated, to get back in the game and almost level right at the end.

"We didn't finish our situations as we could have done. We had really big chances that we usually use but we don't do that. That keeps the game open," coach Jurgen Klopp told BT Sport.

"If you only score one, and they score one, then it's a lot of effort. The game starts new in the second half, pretty much ... But the plan was to win the game and we did that, so job done."

The win leaves Klopp's side one point ahead of Napoli, who could only draw 1-1 with third-placed Salzburg, ahead of the meeting between the pair at Anfield later this month.

Liverpool are also five points ahead of the Austrians and will qualify with a match to spare if they see off Carlo Ancelotti's off-form side.

They will be favourites against the Italians, who are also stuttering in Serie A thanks to a run of just one win in five league matches, as the Reds have a formidable record in Europe that sees them unbeaten on home soil since losing to Real Madrid five years ago.

- Opening onslaught -

England international Oxlade-Chamberlain's winner comes after his brace at Genk and an impressive performance on Tuesday as Klopp started with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane on the bench ahead of the weekend's huge clash with Premier League title rivals Manchester City.

Liverpool are unbeaten domestically and six points ahead of City as they chase their first league title in 30 years.

"It's a different competition. We are in the best possible shape but we have to recover, and then we will prepare for City," Klopp said.

Wijnaldum opened the scoring amid an onslaught in the opening moments from the Reds when Genk failed to clear James Milner's cross and he cleverly flicked past Gaetan Coucke.

Liverpool had good chances to double their lead through Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita before Samatta silenced the home crowd with a brilliant near-post header from Bryan Heynen's corner.

The leveller was no less than the Belgians deserved for a spirited effort in the later stages of the first half, but they were a goal down again soon the restart.

The lively Salah found Oxlade-Chamberlain with some neat footwork and the 26-year-old turned on a sixpence before lashing a left-footed shot into the bottom corner at the Kop end.

Genk didn't give up and Alisson had to be at his best to stop Heynen with 10 minutes left, but the hosts managed to stave off the fightback and make sure of a massive three points.

 

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Stadium 19:55
Galatasaray v Club Brugge, Turk Telekom Arena 19:55
Juventus v Atletico Madrid, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Atalanta v Dinamo Zagreb, Atleti Azzurri d'Italia 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Real Madrid v Paris SG, Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Red Star Belgrade v Bayern Munchen, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Olympiacos, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Valencia v Chelsea, Mestalla 19:55
Zenit St. Petersburg v Lyon, Saint Petersburg Stadium 19:55
Liverpool v Napoli, Anfield 22:00
Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund, Camp Nou 22:00
Slavia Prague v Inter Milan, Eden Arena 22:00
Genk v Red Bull Salzburg, Luminus Arena 22:00
RB Leipzig v Benfica, Red Bull Arena 22:00
Lille v Ajax, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 22:00
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Red Bull Salzburg v Liverpool, Red Bull Arena 19:55
Napoli v Genk, San Paolo 19:55
Ajax v Valencia, Amsterdam ArenA 22:00
Benfica v Zenit St. Petersburg, da Luz 22:00
Lyon v RB Leipzig, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Inter Milan v Barcelona, San Siro 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Slavia Prague, Signal Iduna Park 22:00
Chelsea v Lille, Stamford Bridge 22:00
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Dinamo Zagreb v Manchester City, Maksimir Stadium 19:55
Shakhtar Donetsk v Atalanta, Metalist Stadium 19:55
Bayern Munchen v Tottenham Hotspur, Allianz Arena 22:00
Bayer Leverkusen v Juventus, BayArena 22:00
Club Brugge v Real Madrid, Jan Breydel Stadion 22:00
Olympiacos v Red Star Belgrade, Karaiskakis Stadium 22:00
Paris SG v Galatasaray, Parc des Princes 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Lokomotiv Moscow, Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Saturday, 30 May 2020
TBA v TBA, Ataturk Olympic Stadium 02:00
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