This game was always going to be tricky for Liverpool. Playing in a desert country — unfit for competitive football — and playing against the South American champions, who still boast about beating the Anfield side over thirty years ago.
Playing, as it transpired, under the watch of a referee who appeared ill-equipped to take charge of a Sunday League fixture.
Liverpool started very brightly, though, and Roberto Firmino should have put his side ahead within a minute of play.
However, the South American side began to find their feet — just as the Qatari referee begin to find his whistle — and by half-time there was a sentiment that the tie was pretty evenly set.
Nevertheless, Jürgen Klopp’s side improved after the interval, beginning to play more direct balls in behind to exploit the Brazilian outfit’s lack of pace in defence.
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Chances started to fall for the Reds more frequently.
Heading into injury time, Sadio Mané was seemingly felled when through on goal, but the referee inexplicably decided there was no foul, after checking the VAR monitor.
Come extra time though, Flamengo were only winning this game if they held on until penalties.
But after a superb pass by Henderson was brilliantly played into the path of Firmino by Mané, the Brazilian forward was able to crush his compatriots’ hopes and dreams.
A deserved Christmas present for the Reds in the form of a maiden FIFA Club World Cup trophy.
Here are your ratings:
Ali 7.5 — Once again terrific, bar one nervy kick being closed down.
Trent 7 — Unbelievable early pass which Firmino failed to convert. Teetered on the edge of vintage Trent throughout.
JoGo 8.5 — Comfortably his best performance of the season. Excellent on the ball and when intercepting. Man of the match.
Big Virg 7.5 — Very rare occasion when the Dutchman was not the outstanding central defender on the pitch, but his ability to deal with crosses was precious.
Robbo 6.5 — Couple of overly-hopeful adventures down the left flank. Solid, though.
Naby 6.5 — Started very brightly but faded when Liverpool struggled in the first half.
Hendo 8 — Absolutely dominated the midfield from half-time onward. Incisive ball through to Mané led to the Firmino goal.
Ox 6 — Was receiving some stick on Twitter before injury forced him off. Harsh, in my opinion, as a competent referee would have blown for more free-kicks when fouls caused him to lose possession.
Mo 6.5 — Found life difficult at times given the number of Flamengo men sticking to him, but coped very well considering.
Bobby 7 — Better general standard of performance than Bobby has set as of late, even with the early sitter missed. Rewarded with crucial, well-taken winning goal.
Sadio 7.5 — Brilliant in assisting Firmino’s goal, and a constant problem for the ageing Rafinha. The Senegalese’s consistency of performance this season has been immense.
Lallana 6.5 — Couple of nice touches.
Milner 6.5 — Lasted a matter of minutes before finding himself in the referee’s book.
Origi 7 — Perfect cameo, providing an important outlet.