UEFA Champions League 2019-20: Liverpool vs Genk - could Genk cause an upset against the European champions?
It’s the busy period of the year and the Liverpool might just be feeling it now. Jurgen Klopp's side have had to cater to two different competitions in the last 10 days but have managed to emerge victories in each of those games in sensational style.
The Reds registered a comfortable 4-1 win in Belgium in the reverse fixture and will look to take a major step towards qualification with a victory at Anfield. Liverpool host Manchester City in a potential title-decider this weekend and Klopp could look to ring the changes with one eye on their big showdown against the current Premier League champions.
Below, we take a look at the factors that could prove favorable for Genk.
#1 – Leaving it too late
Liverpool left it late to win their last two matches. Jurgen Klopp’s young squad came back from a 3-1 deficit to square it at 5-5 before the Reds' 3rd choice goalkeeper, Caoimhin Kelleher, saved a penalty to to buoy his side onto victory.
Days later, it was a much different squad that found themselves trailing Aston Villa to a goal before Andy Robertson’s 87th-minute equalizer gave them some hope in keeping their unbeaten streak alive. It took a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner in the 94th minute for Sadio Mané to find the net and hand them their 10th win in 11 games.
Merely 72 hours after, they now shift to a 3rd competition, the UEFA Champions League, to face Genk and Klopp’s men would be hoping not to leave it too late this time.
#2 – Squad rotation for the Reds
Liverpool’s current form in the Premier League has been devastating. They haven’t been involved in high-scoring games but they’ve surely earned their points by seeing through the nail-biting matches. They’ve seen all, from controversial VAR decisions to late winners and on Sunday, they face Manchester City in a potential title decider.
With the big match just a few days away, Jurgen Klopp would surely look to rest a few key players. Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum could find themselves on the bench as the in-form Alex Oxlade Chamberlain is drafted into the starting XI. Fabinho, who was rested for the Aston Villa match to avoid a suspension in case of a yellow card, could make his return.
The big rotation move that the Reds' manager could pull off would be resting the struggling Mohamed Salah. In this case, Divock Origi could be handed a start. Genk will look to take advantage as Liverpool are set to make a handful of changes to their starting XI, with one eye on their title showdown against Manchester City.
#3 – Salah vs Samatta
Mohamed Salah has struggled in recent weeks after sustaining an ankle injury against Leicester City before the international break. Although he scored against Genk in the reverse fixture, Klopp will be tempted to rest his start man to keep him fresh for the weekend.
On the other hand, Genk welcome back star player Mbwana Samatta. Rested at the weekend, Samatta is expected to return to the starting lineup and will be keen to make an impression.
Three points against Genk would put Liverpool in a favorable position, but Felice Mazzu would be counting on Samatta and co to put up a fight as they look to cause an upset.