There was a lot to celebrate for Liverpool’s players as they lifted the Club World Cup, but there was also a clear desire for more success this season.
The success of the Reds’ trip to Qatar rested on the final game, one which would throw up a series of perplexing decisions and require extra-time to crown a victor.
Liverpool had spurned a number of opportunities to seal the game in regulation time, but Flamengo kept Jurgen Klopp’s side at bay on what was a frustrating evening in Qatar.
It was a strike which saw Liverpool crowned Club World Cup champions for the first time in the club’s history and take the Reds’ trophy tally to three in 2019.
And for Virgil van Dijk, who was involved from off after missing the semi-final through illness, the victory was one which was incredibly special, as everyone in the squad -with the exception of Xherdan Shaqiri– had never tasted success in the competition.
The Dutchman conceded the game was “difficult” and that the Reds had the opportunities to make life easier for themselves, however, the environment the team has fostered is one which ensures their desire for success is unwavering.
“[It feels] special. It’s something obviously that we’ve never experienced, apart from Shaqiri, but it’s great to make history for the club – it’s a special thing to do and it’s another trophy.
“It was difficult, of course, but it could have been a lot easier if we scored the three chances that we had in the first half especially, but it was what it was and we had to dig deep and fight.
“We’ve had a good six months! We want to create an environment where we keep winning trophies and so far so good.”
The skipper echoed Van Dijk’s sentiments as the Reds continued to find a way to win, with their mentality ensuring there was only ever going to be one winner.
And while the victory is one which left Jordan Henderson delighted, it was a case of still looking to what is ahead as a meeting with Leicester is next on the horizon on Boxing Day.
“I’m delighted that we’ve come here and done what we wanted to do and that’s win. We’ve had two tough games with extra-time but I thought the lads kept going and showed a great mentality again to find the winner.
“We had some great chances in the game but always kept going and always kept fighting and tried to find the breakthrough, so I’m delighted that we’ve managed to do that and keep the clean sheet.
“We need to keep going, we’ve got a big game coming up in midweek and the games come thick and fast, so of course we can enjoy tonight but then tomorrow we’ve got to recover and get straight back on the focus of Leicester.”
After the game, there was only one thing on the players’ minds as they took to Instagram – and that was that they are all world champions.
The Brazilian contingent enjoyed their evening’s work, with Firmino netting the winner and Alisson keeping his ninth clean sheet of the season:
For fellow stopper, Adrian it was a case of assessing the “hand baggage” which is now on it’s way back to Merseyside:
While Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain‘s injury was a major shadow on the victory, the man himself was in high spirits after the game despite his “ankle doing the roly-poly.”
While James Milner commended the Reds for holding the title of both world and European champions – and you’re right James, it does have a nice ring to it:
Sadio Mane was a joyful mood as he let us in on Naby Keita‘s innocent question of if the Reds could take the trophy back to Liverpool, while Van Dijk shared his pride and started to look towards what lies in wait:
And Andy Lonergan shared a video from inside the dressing room of the entire team and backroom staff singing ‘Allez Allez Allez’ – it’s brilliant viewing:
The triumph in Qatar has seen the Reds lift an astonishing three trophies in the space of just under seven months – an incredible feat considering prior to June 1 Liverpool’s last trophy arrived in 2012.
And a fourth in less than a year is well and truly on the cards, where the next opportunity to move a step closer comes against Leicester on Boxing Day – where a win would move us 13 points ahead of the Foxes with a game in hand.