Liverpool meet Mexico’s Monterrey in the Club World Cup semi-final where a win would move them one step closer to lifting the only piece of silverware the club has never won.
Monterrey vs. Liverpool
Wednesday, December 18, 2019 – 5.30pm (GMT)
Khalifa International Stadium
Club World Cup Semi-Final
Referee: Roberto Tobar (CHI)
The Reds made the trip to Qatar off the back of five successive wins across all competitions, where a place in the last 16 of the Champions League was secured and their lead atop of the Premier League set at a commanding 10 points.
And now the chance for another shot at silverware awaits, with the Reds two wins away from lifting the Club World Cup for the first time in the club’s history.
Jurgen Klopp‘s side are no doubt full of confidence as they gear up for the competition in Qatar having tasted defeat just once in their 26 games so far this season.
Liverpool are to meet Monterrey in the last four after the Mexican outfit emerged as 3-2 winners over Al Sadd in the previous round.
Monterrey currently sit in eighth position in their domestic league and head into the clash with the Reds off the back of a run of 14 games unbeaten in all competitions.
Liverpool are rightly heavy favourites, and a win here is likely to set up a showdown with Flamengo in the showpiece final on Saturday.
The Dutchman clutched at his hamstring with less than an hour gone at Anfield and left many with their heads in their hands as they faced the prospect of yet another senior figure on the sidelines.
And while a return for the 29-year-old has yet to be provided, Klopp has provided a positive update on Liverpool’s No. 5 as he revealed the injury “was not as serious as we thought.”
However, Wijnaldum will miss out on the meeting with Monterrey at the very least, while the remainder of the Reds’ squad is “fine” – including Virgil van Dijk who took part in his own recovery session away from the main group on Monday.
The manager has been readily rotating his side over the past few weeks and he is likely to again make changes on Wednesday, with James Milner, Adam Lallana, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all in contention to slot into the midfield in Wijnaldum’s absence.
For Monterrey, ex-Tottenham striker Vincent Janssen is not available for selection having succumbed to injury.
Manager: Antonio Mohamed
League: Liga MX – currently eighth in Mexico’s first division
Key men: Funes Mori, Dorlan Pabon, Nicolas Sanchez, Rodolfo Pizarro
Road to CWC: CONCACAF Champions League winners. It is their fourth-time competing in the tournament.
Khalifa International Stadium
Travel Advice: The stadium is a short walk from Sports City station on Doha Metro Gold Line.
Moreover, the stadium is home to Qatar’s national team and is now set to host an additional three games, including the final, during the Club World Cup after the grand opening of Education City Stadium was postponed until 2020.
Did You Know?
This is not the first time the two teams have crossed paths. In May 1964, the two clubs contested a friendly at Chicago’s Soldier Field in front of 12,000 people.
Bill Shankly led his side, who had just won the club’s first league title since 1946/47, on a tour of America and Canada.
And the Reds emerged victorious with Ian St. John notching a hat-trick.
It was the first English side that Monterrey faced in their history and now they are to meet for the first time in 55 years at the Club World Cup in Qatar.
Liverpool’s XI: Lawrence, Lawler, Byrne, Moran, Smith, Stevenson, Wallace, Callaghan, Arrowsmith, St John, A’Court
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Monterrey – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 3-2 vs. Al Sadd
Won 1-0 vs. Club Necaxa
Won 2-1 vs. Club Necaxa
Drew 1-1 vs. Santos Laguna
Won 5-2 vs. Santos Laguna
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the boss was full of praise for his sides’ semi-final opponents:
“We know the situation of the coach coming back, the situation in the league was not too good. But since then, they haven’t lost a game so they are in a pretty good moment.
“They have a specific way of playing, they change system when they are in the lead quite often and they have good technical and physically strong players.
“I was impressed by the things I saw. It’s really good football. We are full of respect for Monterrey and looking forward to the game.”
TV & Liveblog Info
Liverpool’s semi-final clash with Monterrey will be shown live on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer from 5.15pm (GMT), with kickoff set for 5.30pm.
Chris Williams will be at the helm on This Is Anfield’s matchday liveblog, keeping you entertained and in the know with minute-by-minute updates on all the action, starting from 4.45pm.