Jurgen Klopp is rolling out his best line-up of fit players. Liverpool prioritized this trophy over the Carabao Cup. Flamengo present a real challenge for England’s top side. They’re ranked 40th in 538’s Global Club Rankings, ahead of teams like Lyon and Sheffield United.
The Reds bombed forward looking for an early opener, but neither Roberto Firmino nor Naby Keita could capitalize on their chances. What followed was an end-to-end, tight game with both sides cancelling each other out. Liverpool thought they had an injury-time penalty, but that was ruled out by VAR to force extra-time!
But they finally found the lead nine minutes into extra-time, when Firmino finished a stunning move in style to break the deadlock. The Reds saw off a late onslaught from the Brazilians to win their third trophy of 2019!
Fair play to Flamengo though. They gave a bigger fight than Man City did! But Liverpool were just better and clinched their first-ever Club World Cup title as the perfect Christmas gift for their supporters.
Liverpool Player Ratings
Jurgen Klopp (7.5) –
Klopp did the right thing playing his strongest possible XI as doing anything but that could’ve caused huge problems. Did nothing wrong marshalling his side to retain a high-intense style, but things just didn’t work his side’s favor in normal time.
But his pep-talk worked wonders as the players took things to another level in added-time. His substitutions were timed to perfection to make sure Flamengo couldn’t lodge any come-back. Another trophy for Klopp!
Alisson (7.0) –
Alisson acted as his side’s protective layer superbly, being extra calm with his distribution and clearances. Denied fellow Brazilian Gabigol with a solid save in the 53rd minute. Superbly leapt to deny his 69th-minute acrobatic effort. Came to Liverpool’s rescue whenever needed, getting another clean-sheet in a final!
Trent Alexander-Arnold (6.0) –
Started the game in fiery mode with a sublime through-ball to pave Firmino clear on goal. Then powered a shot wide in the 6th minute. Getting heckled defensively, with Bruno Henrique skating past him on multiple occasions. He made many defensive errors, but was bailed out by his team-mates. Kept causing trouble with crosses & set-pieces.
Joe Gomez (7.0) –
Gomez was a strong lad in the middle, making clean timely clearances to extinguish Flamengo’s fire. He was solid dealing with the aerial threats and put in some strong tackles to assert himself. The young defender showcased impressive mental strength to hold his nerve through till the end, ending up nullifying Gabigol’s threat as well.
Virgil van Dijk (7.5) –
Big Virg made a scissors-kick clearance seconds into the game. Well, he’s fit alright! He’s maintained a composed demeanour against Flamengo’s blazing attacking rhythm, making solid challenges to stop their march. Covered up Gomez’s errors superbly and made some fantastic clearances in intense moments to flaunt his authority. He truly is Liverpool’s Rolls Royce and that showed today.
Andy Robertson (7.0) –
Robbo’s pumped for the occasion, darting forward with malicious intent. Not being able to link well with Mane so far. Did nothing wrong defensively, putting in an efficient shift through normal time. Showcased loads of energy throughout the 120 minutes, pressing those in his sides and making some great challenges to give another spirited performance.
Jordan Henderson (8.0) –
Captain Henderson’s finding the gaps in Flamengo’s defence with his pinpoint passes. Beating the Brazilians’ high press with crisp passing and not being bullied by the intensity. Beautifully curls a perfect shot at goal in the 86th minute, but it’s saved to deny him the winner.
Hendo virtually created Firmino’s goal, with his incredible long-ball allowing Mane to tee up the Brazilian. Bossed the game, inspiring his side to another final’s win.
Naby Keita (6.0) –
The man in hot form, Keita had a chance to add to his tally, blasting a shot over the bar at the 5th minute. However, he lacked the creative edge in the first half. Keita’s getting into the right positions, but just can’t seem to break the rigid Flamengo shape yet. Ran out of steam towards the end after working hard through normal time.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (5.5) –
Ox carried the ball forward with intent, linking well with his front-three very quickly. Moved into promising spaces at times, but lacked that final killer pass to create the goal. Had to wobble off after sustaining another unlucky injury. That looks a concerning knock.
Sadio Mane (7.0) –
Mane had a surprisingly quiet and frustrating first half, getting booked in it’s dying stages as well. Looks fired up after the break. Despite being quiet throughout 90 minutes, Sadio makes an incisive run through on goal, but was fouled JUST outside the box to get robbed off a goal. Adding insult to injury, that foul wasn’t given either.
Mane was revitalized by that, as he made another penetrative run after extra-time began and found Firmino perfectly to tee up the strike. Had loads of fun and showcased crazy fitness in added-time, mirroring his shallow performance beforehand.
Mohamed Salah (6.5) –
Mo’s enjoying himself here, moving into the pockets of space to open up Flamengo’s defence. Didn’t really get a swipe at goal before the break. Skimmed a shot wide when he finally does in the 49th minute. Put the ball into the net later on, but it was judged offside. Salah had a topsy-turvy game. Was creative, tried hard but just didn’t get any end-result.
Roberto Firmino (8.0) –
Bobby could’ve scored in the 2nd minute, but struck an easy chance from close over the bar. Produced a moment of magic with silky close-control in the 47th, but his near-perfect move was ruined by his shot hitting the bar. Put in a glorious through-ball to send Mane free in added time, but eventually, it resulted in nothing.
But he pounced upon Mane’s pass in the 99th minute and tricked three opposition players before slotting away the goal. Bobby LOVED that goal, celebrating it like a warrior! A brilliant performance on a big occasion again!
Adam Lallana (6.0) –
Lallana’s added a much-needed extra body in midfield, helping the Reds get better control of the game. His distribution was pretty good and he helped see off the result too.
James Milner (6.0) –
Booked minutes after coming on for a blatant foul. Put in another workhorse performance to churn out the win.
Divock Origi (N/A) –
Origi couldn’t spark his magic in added-time, but he gets another medal to his tally!
Xherdan Shaqiri (N/A) –
Brought on to see off the final nerves.
MAN OF THE MATCH
As crucial as Firmino’s goal was to win the game, I’ll have to give this to Henderson. He fuelled Liverpool throughout the game, contributing defensively and playing roles in creating almost every chance. Virtually created Firmino’s goal with a peach of a long-ball. The way he’s evolved under Klopp is incredible and his workhorse display today grants him the MOTM from my side.