Liverpool clinch first Club World Cup via Firmino
Liverpool eventually ended the resistance of Brazilian champions, Flamengo in Qatar. Firmino struck in extra time to hand his side a first Fifa Club World Cup triumph.
Firmino scored a dramatic injury-time winner against Monterrey. His goal sent Liverpool into the final. Against Flamengo, the Brazilian produced a composed finish in the 99th minute. The Reds, therefore, became the second English side to win the tournament after Manchester United in 2008.
In a dramatic conclusion, Liverpool saw an injury-time penalty decision overturned. This after Sadio Mane went down under a challenge from Rafinha with referee Abdulrahman Al Jassim reversing his initial verdict after the consultation with VAR.
Nonetheless, the denial could not hold Firmino from drilling in a goal. The 28-year-old squandered the chance. He blazed over the bar before Naby Keita and Trend Alexander-Arnold spurned early chances as the Premier League leaders made a blistering start.
Firmino hit the post and Salah shot narrowly wide shortly after half time. But Flamengo responded well to early pressure in both halves and posed Liverpool problems.
Liverpool suffered an injury when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain appeared to fall awkwardly on his ankle. With the prospects of early time approaching, Henderson’s curled strike from the edge of the box was superbly tipped by Flamengo goalkeeper Diego Alves.
Firmino’s breakthrough in the first half of extra time delivered huge relief for the Reds. While Salah was denied by Alves soon after, the club was able to see out the second period unharmed.
Liverpool’s gamble pays off
Klopp wanted to change the perception of the Club World Cu in Liverpool. On the other hand, His side prepared to face Flamengo squad who had a “clear order to win it and come back home as heroes.”
Liverpool chose to focus on the Club World Cup and fielded its youngest side to the Carabao Cup in a 5-0 defeat by Aston Villa.
24 hours later, the club got busy securing its first appearance in the Club World Cup final since losing to the Brazilian side in 2005.
Despite having his senior players, Klopp was subjected to naming a makeshift side against Monterrey due to injuries and illness.
But, he welcomed back defensive rock, Virgil van Dijk, Alexander-Arnold, Firmino and Mane to play against Flamengo.
Liverpool failed to capitalize on an excellent start. This led them to pressure as winger Bruno Henrique threatened down the right and Barbosa troubled the defense.
But Klopp’s side didn’t give up. Despite the frustration of Henderson’s dismissed penalty appeal and Mane’s overturned spot-kick, they earned their reward as Firmino once again had the crucial say.
The 99th-minute winner vindicated Klopp’s decision to pursue a first Club World Cup triumph over the Carabao Cup.