3.27pm EDT 15:27 Ach, that’s a shame, and it was a glorious, emphatic header from Samatta at the far post. It’s now being checked by VAR. 3.26pm EDT 15:26 NO GOAL! It’s been disallowed by the on-field referee for a supposed foul on Milner at the far post. Updated at 3.27pm EDT 3.26pm EDT 15:26
Ach, that’s a shame, and it was a glorious, emphatic header from Samatta at the far post. It’s now being checked by VAR.
NO GOAL! It’s been disallowed by the on-field referee for a supposed foul on Milner at the far post.
25 min Coucke makes a vital block from Mane’s close-range shot. It came from a short-range one-two with Firmino, who added yet another beauty to his highlights reel with a rabona reverse pass.
24 min Genk have been reasonably dangerous with their no-nonsense counter-attacks, and if they get the next goal this could become lively. If Liverpool get the next goal, we can all pack up and go home.
23 min Some news from the Press Association wires:
Liverpool have condemned an “offensive and inappropriate” banner which was hung in the away end before the Champions League match in Genk.
The banner, featuring a photoshopped picture of striker Divock Origi, was taken down as soon as the club were made aware of its existence.
“We sought to have it removed as soon as we became aware,” said a spokesman.
“The banner is highly offensive and inappropriate. We condemn its use and we will look to identify those responsible for bringing it into the stadium.”
22 min A Liverpool corner is fumbled by Coucke, who is relieved to see Mane’s follow-up shot blocked by one of the many defenders on the six-yard line.
20 min Genk almost profit from another long ball. This time Ito runs at Lovren in the area, only to slip over at the moment of opportunity.
18 min Liverpool are much the better team, despite the occasional threat of Genk’s front two. They look like a team who want to get qualification wrapped up before their final group game, away to Red Bull Salzburg.
15 min “Liverpool may be playing right to left to you Rob,” says Mark Grindrod, “but I prefer to view the MBM from the other side of the ground! ‘For those of you watching in black and white, Tottenham are playing in yellow …’”
12 min Genk are happy/have no option but to play on the break, launching long passes to the quick, muscular front pair of Samatta and Onuachu. I suspect Liverpool will face these tactics a lot away from home this season.
9 min “I LOVED Bros,” says Steve Waterhouse. “What you gonna do about it?”
Probably nothin’ at all.
8 min: Alisson makes a fine diving save from Onuachu! He looked well ffside as he ran onto another long ball from the back, and I suspect it would have been disallowed had he scored, but Alisson couldn’t be sure of that and he made an outstanding reaction save low to his right.
7 min Liverpool appeal for a penalty when Firmino is eased over in the area. It probably was a foul, though I don’t think it was clear enough for VAR to get involved. Jurgen Klopp does not concur.
5 min A chance out of nothing for Genk. A long ball out of defence puts Samatta clear of the defence, the wrong side of the last man Keita. He chests and then knees the ball into the area before cracking a left-footed shot well wide of the far post. Robertson did well to get back and ensure Samatta had to take the shot earlier than he would have liked.
3 min It wasn’t the fiercest strike from Oxlade-Chamberlain, but it was well placed and might have sneaked in even if Coucke had dived. He is such a fine player, Oxlade-Chamberlain, and it’s great to see him back.
A perfect start for Liverpool. Fabinho played a nice little pass to find Oxlade-Chamberlain in a bit of space, 25 yards from goal. He got the ball out of his feet and drove a low shot that beat the unsighted, flat-footed Coucke and rolled into the far corner.
1 min Keita redefines the backpass, twisting his body to guide the ball off his shoulder blade into the path of Robertson. Good lad.
The players are ready for action. There’s a pulsating atmosphere in the Luminus Arena.
“Trivia question guess: (100% Google search free),” says Peter Oh. “Bon Jovi, Livin’ on a Prayer?”
I think that was 1987. Anyway, wrong! It was this popular record.
Chelsea’s spectacular form looks set to continue: Michy Bathsuayi has given them a late lead in Amsterdam.
“Hi Rob,” says Peter Oh. ““Racing Genk was founded in 1988? I wouldn’t really blame the travelling Liverpool supporters if they break into, ‘You ain’t got no history!’”
Yep, 1st July 1988. A gold star for naming the No1 in the UK charts back then.
Ajax v Chelsea The second half has just started in Amsterdam. You will believe the score!
Mo Salah returns in what is a strong Liverpool starting line-up. James Milner is preferred to Joe Gomez at right-back.
Genk (4-2-3-1) Coucke; Maehle, Cuesta, Lucumi, Uronen; Heynen, Berge; Ito, Samatta Bongonda; Onuachu.
Substitutes: Vandevoordt, De Norre, Dewaest, Hrosovsky, Hagi, Ndongala.
Liverpool (4-3-3) Alisson; Milner, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Substitutes: Adrian, Wijnaldum, Gomez, Henderson, Lallana, Brewster, Origi.
Referee Slavko Vincic (Slovenia).
Good evening. It’s an odd thing to say about a team who are European champions and runaway leaders in England, but Liverpool kind of need to stop playing silly buggers. They have lost their last four group games away from home in Champions League, making qualification for the knockout stages – when they really come alive – tougher than it needs to be.
They’ll almost certainly be fine, because they’re the best team in Europe right now, but they could do with a win in Belgium tonight to keep everything in order. Genk have not won in 14 attempts in the Champions League proper, going back to 2002, although they have drawn six of their seven games at home – including a worthy 0-0 against Napoli last month.
Like Liverpool’s last European opponents, Red Ball Salzburg, Genk provide a home for future stars. You could make quite a team out of those who have played for or come through the ranks here: Courtois, De Bruyne, Bailey, Koulibaly, Milinkovic-Savic, Ndidi and Liverpool’s own Origi are all on the list.
The current, very young side includes the prolific Tanzanian forward Mbwana Samatta and the classy Norwegian midfielder Sander Berge. They also signed Ianis Hagi – yep – from FC Viitorul Constanta in the summer.
Genk were surprising but emphatic winners of last year’s Belgian title, their fourth championship since the club was founded in 1988. And while their defence hasn’t started too well, with four defeats in the first 10 games, that doesn’t really matter tonight. They have the chance to beat the European champions, and become legends all over again.
Kick off is at 8pm.