Reds end away jinx with brilliant goals but Klopp still unhappy

GENK • Liverpool huffed and puffed before displaying their cutting edge in attack to blow Belgian side Genk away 4-1 in the Champions League which left manager Jurgen Klopp a dissatisfied man.

Two goals, the second a beauty, from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who started his first game in the competition for 18 months, and silky strikes from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, made the score more emphatic than suggested.

There were moments of unease on Wednesday for the defending champions as they won away in the group phase for the first time in two years. Genk were unfortunate to have a Mbwana Samatta effort ruled out in the first half and squandered several chances before Liverpool took charge.

Such are the standards Klopp has instilled, however, that he was not entirely impressed despite his side moving into second in Group E with six points, one behind Napoli.

"I didn't enjoy the game too much but I enjoyed the result a lot," said Klopp, whose side's 17-match winning streak in the Premier League ended in a 1-1 draw at Manchester United last Sunday.

"We've had two away games that were difficult for different reasons. I don't know where we are at the moment. I know where we have to be on Sunday (against Tottenham in the Premier League).

"There were good moments. We started well but lost a lot of easy balls, unexpected balls. Of course, those are the most difficult to defend against.

"Our first goal was brilliant - all four goals were brilliant."

He has an embarrassment of attacking riches with Oxlade-Chamberlain's return yet another option.

The Englishman struck a clinical opener after two minutes and his 57th-minute goal to double his side's lead, a nonchalant clipped effort with the outside of his right foot, was a gem.

It was Liverpool's 200th Champions League goal but even Oxlade-Chamberlain got a "can do better" report card from Klopp.

  • 200

    Liverpool's Champions League goals, also Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's second goal of the night. They are the fourth English team to pass the milestone after Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea.

"Ox was like the game was. The goals were brilliant, but he can do much better and he knows that," the German boss said.

"He's had a lot of time out and he lacked a bit of rhythm in some moments... It was a big step."

In Salzburg, 19-year-old Norwegian Erling Haaland became the first player to score six goals in his first three Champions League appearances. He is also the first teenager after Karim Benzema to score in all his first three games, but it was not enough to deny Napoli the win.

Lorenzo Insigne scored the Italian side's winner to make it 3-2 after Haaland twice cancelled out Dries Mertens' strikes.

In Prague, Fifa's Player of the Year Lionel Messi became the first to score in 15 consecutive campaigns by scoring in Barcelona's 2-1 win over Czech Republic side Slavia Prague. 

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2019, with the headline 'Reds end away jinx with brilliant goals but Klopp still unhappy'. Print Edition | Subscribe