A late Genk strike did little to dampen Liverpool fans' mood after a complete performance saw them defeat Genk 4-1 and record a helpful three points in Belgium.
Genk struggled to deal with Andrew Robertson and Sadio Mane's strong link-up play on the left side of midfield initially -- and James Milner's switching sides for the final half-hour proves the depth and versatility Jurgen Klopp can boast in that area.
Naturally, Klopp's side were left vulnerable defensively amid Milner and Robertson's bursts of pace down both flanks. It left them exposed, and Genk certainly should've capitalised at least once during the first half. A more established opponent might have grabbed a couple of goals here.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- It was a solid Liverpool performance from top to tail from Klopp's men. Initial concern about the influential Salah was cast to one side when the attacking midfielder chipped in with a late assist and goal. Liverpool's 4-3-3 formation hurt a weak Genk side who stood brave against the European Champions but were simply no match.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Allison, 8 -- Quick thinking and accurate distribution helped Liverpool counter Genk with good effect. Made an excellent save early on when Milner and Lovren were caught napping, but credit to his defenders, had little to do otherwise.
DF James Milner, 7 -- Adopted a very attacking right-back role, as did Robertson on the opposite side before he was subbed. Defensively exposed on the left side at times but a solid and versatile performance.
DF Dejan Lovren, 6 -- Gifted Genk a sight on goal when caught watching the linesman rather than playing to the whistle. Against a more clinical team, he would've no doubt been punished.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 7 -- Brilliant pace to cover defensive lines, calm under possession and excellent vision to pick out men up front. Always looking to create plays when possible and wasn't afraid to try his luck from range either. A player rich on confidence.
DF Andrew Robertson, 8 -- Linked up excellently with Mane on the left, and ran the flanks very well. His passes were rarely cut out and could've grabbed a goal too. Worked hard before being subbed off at the hour mark.
MF Fabinho, 7 -- A performance that could easily go under the radar, his creative link-up play with Mane was noticeable and he was unfortunate not to record an assist. Also backtracked well when he was needed. A calming performance.
MF Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 9 -- Two fantastic match-winning finishes that no doubt delighted Klopp. Great power, excellent accuracy and confidence evidently are not in short supply. Besides that, got into great pockets of space.
MF Naby Keita, 7 -- Showed good positioning in a holding midfield role. Keita's passes were accurate and direct with Mane and Firmino often benefitting from the Guinean's vision.
FW Sadio Mane, 7 -- A performance full of pace and energy. Linked up excellently with Robertson and adapted well when he departed play. Most importantly, teamed up with Salah on his goal, which will be a welcome sight to anyone supporting the Reds. Hopefully that storyline dies here.
FW Mohamed Salah, 8 -- Much improved in the second half, he seemed caught in the wrong place at the wrong time initially, with his passing and timing just a bit off. Brilliant aft half-time and that was rewarded with a goal and an assist.
FW Roberto Firmino, 7 -- Trigger-happy with his back heels when more sensible options were perhaps available. Great movement, pressured defenders into mistakes and played a deeper role than usual which opened other options.
DF Joe Gomez, 6 -- Would've been disappointed to watch Genk snatch Liverpool's clean sheet away from them via a rather scrappy goal in the concluding minutes.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, N/R -- Pushed forward when applicable and supported the in-form Salah and Mane well.
FW Divock Origi, N/R -- Held his own when the game was reaching its climax.