Preview: Liverpool to face Flamengo in Club World Cup final
Already the reigning kings of Europe, Liverpool will go for global glory when they face Brazilian side Flamengo in the final of the 2019 Club World Cup on Saturday (12:30 p.m. ET) in Doha, Qatar.
Jurgen Klopp’s side advanced to the final on Roberto Firmino’s stoppage-time winner to defeat Mexican side Monterrey in Wednesday’s semifinal. Naby Keita opened the scoring in the 12th minute, but Rogelio Funes Mori drew the CONCACAF Champions League winners level just two minutes, and Liverpool were in for a tough fight the rest of the way.
Monterrey out-shot Liverpool 16 to 12 (8 to 6 on target) and nearly became the first side to defeat the UEFA Champions League winner since 2012, when fellow Brazilian side Corinthians topped Chelsea in the final.
The Reds were were without superstar defender Virgil van Dijk (illness) on short notice, forcing Klopp to drop Jordan Henderson back to center back alongside Joe Gomez. At this point, it is unknown whether or not Van Dijk will be recovered to feature in the final.
Klopp described it as a thoroughly “strange” game. Given the absence of Van Dijk and the chaotic nature of the game up until Firmino’s late winner, Klopp said after the game, “I was afraid of extra time, to be honest.”
While the Club World Cup is clearly a secondary competition for Liverpool this season, James Milner was clear about one thing after Wednesday’s great escape: they are far from satisfied with having won one trophy — it’s dynasty or bust.
“It was important to get that first trophy on the board. We were unfortunate not to win in a few finals but you see how the team has moved on. Like I said before, we don’t want to be remembered as the team who won one trophy once. You want to be a part of a group where you forget which year you won one trophy.”
Flamengo advanced with a 3-1 victory over Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal. After falling behind in the first 20 minute, Flamengo stormed back with a trio of second-half goals.