Belgium's Genk aim to add to Liverpool's away woes

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (right) and Dejan Lovren at a training session ahead of the Champions League clash against KRC Genk.
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (right) and Dejan Lovren at a training session ahead of the Champions League clash against KRC Genk.PHOTO: DPA

GENK • By most standards, let alone that of European champions, Liverpool have not had the best form on the road in the Champions League group stage, losing their last four away games at this phase.

Genk, however, appear to be accommodating opponents as the Premier League leaders seek to end their travel woes and possibly seize control of Group E today.

The Belgian champions are without a win in 14 games in the competition proper and even though they held leaders Napoli to a creditable goal-less draw in their last game, few are expecting them to hold out against Liverpool's attack.

While the Reds looked flat in the 1-1 Premier League draw at Manchester United over the weekend, they will be boosted by the return of Mohamed Salah, who missed the game with an ankle injury.

He was spotted in training yesterday and the Egypt forward should take his place up front with two of the other "Fab Three" alongside Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

Defenders Joel Matip and Trent Alexander-Arnold were absent from the session. Xherdan Shaqiri has been ruled out but Jurgen Klopp is not short on options in all areas of the pitch, with Adam Lallana champing at the bit for his first European start of the campaign.

The often-overlooked England midfielder came off the bench on Sunday night to grab the leveller and Klopp yesterday told the club website that his first goal in 21/2 years was "a wonderful story".

EVERYONE'S WATCHING

Everyone (in Tanzania) is talking about the game tomorrow, talking about (Virgil) van Dijk, saying I have to do something against him, go past him, dribble.

MBWANA ALLY SAMATTA, Genk striker, who hails from Tanzania, acknowledging the level of attention in the East African country on tonight's Champions League game.

He said: "We had a long talk and he is completely relaxed and fine and knows how difficult it is to come into the team. But he just trains well and he deserved that."

Still, Liverpool should not be complacent as the unfancied hosts have nothing to lose at their Luminus Arena, where they are unbeaten in six Champions League matches.

Promising "we will give everything at home", Genk coach Felice Mazzu said ahead of the tie: "Some people thought it might be very difficult for us against Napoli, but we could have won that game."

His team have a reputation of bringing through young talent, developing the likes of Thibaut Courtois, Kevin de Bruyne, Kalidou Koulibaly, Christian Benteke and Wilfred Ndidi over the years, and Mbwana Ally Samatta is the latest to make a name for himself.

The Tanzania striker notched 23 goals to fire Genk to the league title last term, and with six goals in 13 appearances this season, he will be the dangerman for Klopp's side.

The boyhood Manchester United fan also wants to make his countrymen proud in his "dream game".

"Everyone (in Tanzania) is talking about the game tomorrow, talking about (Virgil) van Dijk, saying I have to do something against him, go past him, dribble," Samatta told football365.com. "We are playing in front of our own supporters so we want to be happy at the end of the game. We will do our best."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

GENK V LIVERPOOL

Singtel TV Ch110 & StarHub Ch214, tomorrow, 2.55am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 23, 2019, with the headline 'Belgium's Genk aim to add to Liverpool's away woes'. Print Edition | Subscribe