PREVIEW | Liverpool v Flamengo (Club World Cup final)

Liverpool go into the Club World Cup final in Qatar hoping to win the competition for the first time. Brazilian side Flamengo are the opponents, with a squad full of young talent and big-name experience.

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Liverpool will play Brazilian side Flamengo, as they look to win their third piece of silverware for the year and secure the first ever Club World Cup in their history.

Liverpool made hard work of the semi-final against Monterrey. They were pegged back two minutes later, just as if it looked that Liverpool would have to play extra time, they secured a late winner to progress to the final.

Flamengo played Al-Hilal in their semi-final. The Saudi Arabian side took a shock lead in the first half. The Brazilians showed their quality in the second half and they scored three goals without reply to claim their place in the final

The semis

Liverpool’s semi-final opposition were Monterrey. The Reds took an early lead through Naby Keïta, who scored at the near post after being put through by Mo Salah. This was the Guinean’s third goal in as many games since his return from injury.

The Mexicans pulled levelled just two minutes later as Rogelio Funes Mori tapped in following a second phase from a corner.


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Liverpool controlled the ball for large parts of the game, but it was the Mexicans who had the better chances. Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker was on top form and made multiple saves to ensure that the score line remained level. It looked at is the game was headed to extra time as Liverpool failed to have any meaningful shots on goal.

In the 90th minute, Trent Alexander-Arnold’s excellent cross allowed Roberto Firmino to tap in from a couple of yards out to send the Reds into the final.

Flamengo secured the their spot in the final with a 3-1 victory over Al-Hilal. The Brazilians were favourites to go through but saw themselves behind in the first half. Salem Al-Dawsari gave his side an unlikely but deserved lead.

Flamengo were struggling to get into the game and were facing the prospect of being knocked out early, but in the second half they started to look like their normal selves and started to dominate.

Giorgian De Arrascaeta levelled the score before Bruno Henrique gave the Brazilians the lead 12 minutes from time and, just three minutes later, they secure their place in the final after Ali Albulayhi bundled into his own net.

Team news

Jürgen Klopp will name his strongest line-up available to him as he looks to secure his third piece of silverware at Liverpool.

Alisson Becker will start in goal — if he is maintains his form from the semi-final then it is likely that Liverpool will be victorious.

Virgil van Dijk returned to training on Friday so it is likely he will return to the starting line-up. This means that Jordan Henderson will move back to the base of midfield and give Liverpool a player who is able to dominate the centre of the park and is physically suited to the role.

Roberto Firmino scored the decisive goal against Monterrey. After a poor run of form hopefully that goal will boost the Brazilian’s confidence. He will likely be back among the starting XI, rejoined by Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané.

Flamengo have multiple players who have played for big clubs in Europe and have had contrasting careers at their respective clubs.

Flamengo goalkeeper, Diego Alves played 146 games for Valencia in La Liga. He wasn’t considered one of the best throughout his time in Spain, but he wasn’t bad either.

Their full-backs both played for European giants. Filipe Luís turned out for Atlético Madrid where he won numerous pieces of silverware and you will find Rafinha on the opposite flank. The Brazilian played for Barcelona and Bayern Munich throughout his time in Europe.

Their star player Gabriel Barbosa was deemed a flop after moving to Inter Milan, where the striker failed to make an impact. A failed loan spell at Benfica saw the Brazilian go back on loan to Santos were he shined. This saw Flamengo secure his services on loan which has been a success. The Brazilian has 25 goals in 29 games.

Prediction

Flamengo often struggle when pressed high up the pitch, when under pressure their passing is wayward which gives the opposition an opportunity to counter-attack.

Santos use the high press and they won 4-0 in the last meeting between the two clubs. Liverpool are the best pressing team in the world and usually make their opponents pay for silly mistakes high up the pitch. Unlike the semi-final, the game will be free flowing. A game full of stoppages doesn’t help either team with both sides liking to play expansive football.

I think the Liverpool will win, Flamengo have some excellent players in attack but I think out side will be too much for them especially in the final few minutes of the game.

Predicted final score: Liverpool 3-0 Flamengo

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