Liverpool were forced to play for two hours in Qatar on Saturday, but popped up with another late goal to beat Flamengo 1-0 and win the Club World Cup.
Liverpool 1-0 Flamengo (AET)
Club World Cup Final, Khalifa International Stadium
December 21, 2019
Goals: Firmino 99′
Alisson – 7 (out of 10)
Spoke effusively in the buildup on the significance of the Club World Cup in his football upbringing, and having been a spectator for Internacional’s win in 2006, had a watching brief again until making the game’s first save in the 52nd minute.
Had little to do afterwards either, and will be jubilant to lift the trophy he has long coveted.
Almost crafted the perfect opening with a stunning left-footed pass for Roberto Firmino‘s first-minute chance, but it seemingly came too early for the No. 9 to produce a finish.
Found himself at odds with the pace and movement of Bruno Henrique in the first half, but improved as the game wore on and found his rhythm both in defence and attack.
Joe Gomez – 8
Made a brilliant recovery block after Henrique had breezed past Trent for the umpteenth time, and was again much more comfortable in his natural role alongside Virgil van Dijk.
Could deservedly take first-choice centre-back between now and the end of the season.
Virgil van Dijk – 7
Back in the side after a bout of illness, Van Dijk was as strong and composed as ever, bar a pair of scuffed clearances which, fortunately, inflicted no danger on the Liverpool defence.
Andy Robertson – 7
Another surreal stage for the £8 million left-back from Glasgow, and Robertson performed with the bluster and needle fans have come to expect.
Endeavoured to make good of his promise to Sadio Mane at the break in exploiting Rafinha, but ultimately it was the No. 10 who triumphed in their running battle.
Jordan Henderson – 8 (Man of the Match)
Also fulfilled his duties as captain well, finding himself in constant interaction with a cripplingly poor referee in a bid to level the playing field.
Drew a great save from Diego Alves towards the end of normal time, before threading the pass through for Mane to secure the win.
Endeavoured as the ‘trigger’ in midfield, but was largely inactive on the ball as a gap emerged between Henderson and the front three.
Suffered a worrying injury in the second half, which is a major concern after his long-term issues.
Naby Keita – 7
On the back of three goals in his last three games, Keita was entrusted with the most advanced role in Klopp’s three-man midfield, and was slicker and more physical than in recent outings.
Withdrawn 10 minutes into extra time as Klopp sought to grind the win out.
Mohamed Salah – 7
Erratic, drifting and so often out of touch, Salah squandered a six-on-two counter with a poor pass in the first half, flashed a snapshot wide early in the second and blasted over on the hour mark.
Kept pushing, as ever, and helped stretched the play late on as Liverpool sealed the victory; wasted time expertly by milking his last-minute substitution.
Sadio Mane – 8
Mane’s flank was the clear outlet for Liverpool as he found himself up against Rafinha again, nine months on from embarrassing him and Manuel Neuer in Munich.
He was denied by the referee’s lack of basic understanding when he was brought down by the right-back in injury time, but then replicated his turn from March as he set up Firmino for the winner.
Roberto Firmino – 7
Another Brazilian against Brazilian opposition, Firmino was spared the media duties before the game but was bright and busy from kickoff, though he found himself suffocated between Flamengo’s defence and midfield.
Wasted a first-minute opportunity and saw a similar opening after the break somehow come back off the post with Alves stranded, but was on hand to power in the winner in extra time.
Adam Lallana (on for Oxlade-Chamberlain, 75′) – 7
James Milner (on for Keita, 100′) – 6
Divock Origi (on for Firmino, 106′) – 6
Xherdan Shaqiri (on for Salah, 120′) – N/A
Subs not used: Adrian, Lonergan, Van den Berg, Williams, Hoever, Wijnaldum, Jones, Elliott, Shaqiri
Jurgen Klopp – 8
Restored his strongest possible side for a high-profile final, but will have hoped for a more clinical display from the European champions.
Was understandably frustrated with an inept referee, though he kept his emotions in check after a yellow card in the semi-final on Wednesday night.
Reacted to Oxlade-Chamberlain’s injury by sending on Lallana instead of Milner or Gini Wijnaldum, and it paid off as the No. 20 provided more energy and thrust in breaking the lines.
Klopp clearly had words with his players at the end of normal time, as Liverpool came out the blocks strong and earned their title as world champions.
Abdulrahman Al Jassim – 0
Grew up wanting to be Mike Dean. Never seen a referee get his hands on the players as much.
No intervention from VAR for the foul on Henderson in the first half, before the referee conspired to turn a foul either in or out the box on Mane in injury time into a drop ball in Flamengo’s favour.
Very clearly conscious he was on TV.