Holder Liverpool beats Genk 2-1 to take control of Group E

<p>
              Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 3rd right, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the Champions League group E soccer match between Liverpool and Genk at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool, England, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
            </p>

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Just days before a crucial Premier League game against Manchester City, title-holder Liverpool delivered a mediocre Champions League performance yet still registered a third consecutive win in the competition on Tuesday.

Goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Georginio Wijnaldum secured a scrappy 2-1 win over Genk as Liverpool seized control of Group E on Tuesday.

“We played against a good team and even if the match was not perfect we took three points, we did the job,” Liverpool forward Divock Origi said.

After easily beating the Belgian team 4-1 last month, Liverpool continued its good run in Europe’s top club tournament to move one point above Napoli at the top of the standings.

Napoli was held to a 1-1 draw by Salzburg in the group’s other game.

Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp made six changes and rested key players — including Andy Robertson, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Dejan Lovren — ahead of his team’s most serious challenge of the season this weekend.

Wijnaldum put the hosts in front in the 14th minute with his first goal at Anfield since his double in the 4-0 comeback win over Barcelona in last season’s semifinal second leg.

Ally Mbwana Samatta leveled with a header four minutes before halftime.

Oxlade-Chamberlain restored Liverpool’s lead in the 53rd minute with his fourth goal in four games, as many as in his previous 45 appearances for the club.

Genk pushed hard in the last 10 minutes and created a couple of good chances that it could not convert despite Liverpool’s defensive frailties.

If Liverpool beats Napoli at Anfield on Nov. 27 it will qualify for the knockout phase with one match to spare.

Liverpool will now focus on Sunday’s Premier League clash with City, when it will look to extend its six-point lead at the top.