Jurgen Klopp switched up his starting line-up in Belgium – giving Liverpool fans the midfield trio of Fabinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita that they have long craved.
And Oxlade-Chamberlain put Liverpool in front just two minutes in but after taking the lead it was the hosts who looked the more dangerous of the two teams, creating a slew of chances and seeing a goal ruled out for offside.
Genk looked lively again after the break but Oxlade-Chamberlain delivered the killer blow with a sumptuous effort to secure a brace.
Liverpool took control after that and added goals through Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, before the hosts denied them a clean sheet late on. But how did Jurgen Klopp’s men fare as they grabbed a first away win in the group stage for two years?
Liverpool player ratings vs Genk – Champions League
GK: Alisson – 7
Good save from Paul Ounachu’s effort in the first half. Tried to close down Stephen Odey for Genk’s goal but saw shot squirm through his legs. Still a solid night for the Brazilian.
RB: James Milner – 7
Fortunate a Genk goal was overruled, where he was well beaten by Samatta in the air, for offside. Did well getting forward but occasionally vulnerable defensively. Switched to left-back after Robertson went off. What would Liverpool do without him?
CB: Dejan Lovren – 5
Indifferent display. Excellent second-half tackle when Genk looked to counter but Liverpool back-line often unsure of itself, though lacked usual protection with the attacking duo of Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain. Way too easily beaten down the right for Genk’s consolation goal.
CB: Virgil van Dijk – 6
Typically strong and dominant in the challenge, dealing well with the troublesome Samatta, though must also take some criticism for how open and careless Liverpool looked for an hour.
LB: Andrew Robertson – 6
Drove forward well but Genk got in behind him several times in the first half. Had a cross-cum-shot well saved by Gaetan Coucke. Subbed off with 25 minutes to go.
CM: Fabinho – 7
Crowned his 26th birthday with a strong combative display. Much improved on the sluggish display at the weekend as he won the bulk of his battles, even though he had more work to do than normal with Liverpool’s new-look midfield not always in control.
CM: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 8
Took just two minutes to make an impact, finding space on the edge of the box and precisely finding the bottom corner. Was in and out of the game after that first half but improved after the break and scored a stunning second goal, firing in off the underside of the bar with the outside of his right boot. Subbed off with 18 to go.
CM: Naby Keita – 7
First touch of the game was an audacious one, with his back. Was caught out by Ally Mbwana Samatta’s run beyond him on the counter early on but bright in possession, offering kind of purpose Liverpool lacked for much of the game at Manchester United.
RAM: Mohamed Salah – 6
Looked as though it would be a disappointing evening from the returning Egyptian, who looked to be lacking in sharpness. Relatively uninvolved in the first 45 minutes. Saw more of the ball second half but decision-making appeared to be askew. Then provided a clever assist for Mane’s goal and scored a terrific effort for his first away goal since last year’s Champions League. Still, overall, below his best.
LAM: Sadio Mane – 7
Typically dangerous and fine finish to get his goal. Should’ve done better with a through ball on the counter shortly after Origi’s introduction. Got the assist for Salah’s goal, though it was largely his team-mate’s doing.
ST: Roberto Firmino – 7
Unlucky not to be given early penalty when barged in the back. Would’ve had an outrageous assist had Mane finished off from his first-half ramona. Got his assist when Oxlade-Chamberlain scored the second goal and played a key role in the third goal. Subbed off on 79 minutes.
SUB: Joe Gomez – 6
Couldn’t help Liverpool keep a clean sheet.
SUB: Gini Wijnaldum – 6
Won back possession for the third goal.
SUB: Divock Origi – N/A
Greeted by a lovely reception from the fans of his former club. Didn’t see much of the ball.