Liverpool will be looking to bounce back from a poor Premier League performance away to arch rivals Manchester United, as they travel to Belgium to take on Gent in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
Liverpool dropped their first points of this Premier League season on Sunday afternoon after only being able to draw 1-1 with an out of form Manchester United side. Liverpool’s performance was far worse than what the footballing world has been used to over the past year and it ended a five game winning streak in all competitions. It’s left experts asking a lot of questions as to whether or not the Reds can keep up enough consistency this season to go on and win trophies.
Star man Mohamed Salah didn’t feature in the game and it was instead out of favour Adam Lallana who was the unlikely Reds saviour who came on to rescue his side a point. The 31-year-old midfielder was a second half substitute and tapped home an Andy Robertson low cross from close range to equalise late on in the game.
The only defeat Liverpool have suffered this season has come in the Champions League when they travelled to Italy on matchday one. So much was expected by the European Champions but they ended up playing out a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Napoli in what was a tough and tight contest. They responded to that result well on matchday two, edging out Salzburg in a seven goal thriller. However, they made it extremely hard for themselves by throwing away a 3-0 lead, to then be pegged back to 3-3 before finding the winner mid-way into the second half.
Jurgen Klopp’s side now head to Belgium to face a Genk side who are without a win in their last eight Champions League games. De Smurfen, or The Smurfs as they’re sometimes referred to have also had an average Jupiler League start (W5, D1, L4). They’ve struggled so far this season and that leaves them sitting in 6th place, 10 points adrift from leaders Club Brugge.
It’s a crucial game for both sides who will both be desperate for the win to push up the table. A win for the Reds and they’ll definitely go into the top two.
Winger Mohamed Salah sat out Liverpool’s draw with Manchester United on Sunday but could return to the starting 11 after recovering from a slight ankle injury.
Swiss winger Xherdan Shaqiri has not featured in the Liverpool squad for a month now due to a calf injury. He is very close to full recovery and could be in contention to feature in Wednesday’s match.
After his late equaliser on Monday night you would expect Adam Lallana to be knocking on Jurgen Klopp’s door this week for a place in the starting 11 whilst right back Nathaniel Clyne is still out of the first-team picture and isn’t expected to return until the new year after picking up a serious knee injury during pre-season.
Genk manager Felice Mazzù has a mostly full strengthened side. They did lose talented young midfielder Ianis Hagi on the hour mark on Saturday through injury and it remains to be seen whether the 20-year-old son of Romanian legend Gheorghe Hagi will be absent in midweek.
Liverpool have scored freely so far this season, netting 25 times in their 12 competitive matches, an average of just above 2 per game. Their defence received huge praise for how strong they were last season and rightly so. However, so far this season, it hasn’t quite been as easy for the back 4 and their Goalkeeper Allison. The Reds have conceded a total of 12 goals in their 12 competitive matches and have only been able to record three clean sheets.
Meanwhile Genk have scored 17 goals in 13 competitive games so far this season and have managed to find the net in a 11 of those games. Also like Liverpool they have a leaky defence conceding 11 goals and only managing four clean sheets. Judging by this I think both teams to score and over 2.5 goals looks a great bet at good value.
Liverpool are hopeful Mohamed Salah will be fit for the game and if he is fit and does start, I fancy him to bag a goal. He’s scored six goals in nine games for the Reds so far this season, including a brace in their last Champions League match against Salzburg. He’ll be keen to make amend after missing out on Sunday.