Club World Cup

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Preview: Liverpool to face Flamengo in Club World Cup final

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Already the reigning kings of Europe, Liverpool will go for global glory when they face Brazilian side Flamengo in the final of the 2019 Club World Cup on Saturday (12:30 p.m. ET) in Doha, Qatar.

[ MORE: Klopp: “So many strange things happened” in CWC semifinal win ]

Jurgen Klopp‘s side advanced to the final on Roberto Firmino’s stoppage-time winner to defeat Mexican side Monterrey in Wednesday’s semifinal. Naby Keita opened the scoring in the 12th minute, but Rogelio Funes Mori drew the CONCACAF Champions League winners level just two minutes, and Liverpool were in for a tough fight the rest of the way.

Monterrey out-shot Liverpool 16 to 12 (8 to 6 on target) and nearly became the first side to defeat the UEFA Champions League winner since 2012, when fellow Brazilian side Corinthians topped Chelsea in the final.

The Reds were were without superstar defender Virgil Van Dijk (illness) on short notice, forcing Klopp to drop Jordan Henderson back to center back alongside Joe Gomez. At this point, it is unknown whether or not Van Dijk will be recovered to feature in the final.

Klopp described it as a thoroughly “strange” game. Given the absence of Van Dijk and the chaotic nature of the game up until Firmino’s late winner, Klopp said after the game, “I was afraid of extra time, to be honest.”

[ MORE: Solskjaer, Rashford excited for Manchester Derby in League Cup semis ]

While the Club World Cup is clearly a secondary competition for Liverpool this season, James Milner was clear about one thing after Wednesday’s great escape: they are far from satisfied with having won one trophy — it’s dynasty or bust.

“It was important to get that first trophy on the board. We were unfortunate not to win in a few finals but you see how the team has moved on. Like I said before, we don’t want to be remembered as the team who won one trophy once. You want to be a part of a group where you forget which year you won one trophy.”

Flamengo advanced with a 3-1 victory over Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal. After falling behind in the first 20 minute, Flamengo stormed back with a trio of second-half goals.

Klopp: ‘So many strange things happened’ in Club World Cup semifinal win

Club World Cup Liverpool
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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was happy to survive a scare in his Club World Cup semifinal on Wednesday.

The Reds got a late goal from super sub Roberto Firmino to get past game Liga MX side Monterrey 2-1 in Qatar.

Liverpool will now meet Brazilian side Flamengo in Saturday’s final at 12:30 p.m. ET

“So many strange things happened,” Klopp said, via The Liverpool Echo’s Ian Doyle. “It was the most offensive midfield I have ever put out in a competitive game. Henderson center back for the first time. We didn’t have much height at center back.”

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Klopp started Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez at center back, as Virgil Van Dijk was sick and both Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren have injuries.

He left Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the bench, but needed all of them after Naby Keita‘s goal was leveled by Rogelio Funes Mori.

“I was afraid of extra time, to be honest,” Klopp said. “I was more than happy when Bobby scored that goal. We had to do a few changes as we had no other options. We left players out so we could have the opportunity if the game wasn’t decided. That Bobby scored was just wonderful.”

Monterrey had a fine night, and coach Antonio Mohamed had perhaps the best quote of the night when asked about Gomez not being given a second yellow card.

“For me, there was a red card especially the first foul and the second. So I talked to the referee, maybe the Liverpool shirt has more weight therefore the Liverpool player (Gomez) wasn’t sent off.”

Heavy shirts, team. Heavy ones.

Club World Cup semifinal preview: Liverpool aims for 1st world title

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Liverpool’s quest to become the second Premier League club to win the Club World Cup begins Wednesday in Qatar against Liga MX side Monterrey.

The Reds hope to join 2008 winners Manchester United as the lone English winners of the 19-year-old tournament. Liverpool (2005) and Chelsea (2012) have also lost CWC finals.

[ MORE: Champions League draw analysis ]

The tournament crown has belonged in European hands since Corinthians surprised Chelsea in 2012.

The Reds are nearly -1000 favorites to beat Monterrey and the world will expect a tournament crown for the Premier League side, to be sure.

They’ve added Sepp van den Berg, Ki-Jana Hoever, and Harvey Elliott to the team following injuries to Dejan Lovren and Rhian Brewster.

Liverpool play Monterrey at 12:30 p.m. ET Wednesday, 24 hours after fellow favorites Flamengo meet up with Saudi side Al-Hilal.

Here’s a quick roundup of the other three competitors.

Monterrey

The most immediate threat to Jurgen Klopp‘s goals comes in the form of CONCACAF Champions League-winning Rayados. Leonel Vangioni scored a marvelous goal to lead the Liga MX side past Al-Sadd in the quarterfinal. Former Spurs flop Vincent Janssen is in the club, as are familiar faces Miguel Layun (Watford) and Rogelio Funes Mori (River Plate).

Al-Hilal

The Saudi club got here by beating Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds in the Asian Champions League, with Sebastian Giovinco and Bafetimbi Gomis leading the way. Gomis scored the lone goal of a quarterfinal defeat of Esperance Tunis, set up by ex-Watford man Andre Carrillo.

Flamengo

The Rio-based South American champions are led by Gabriel Barbosa, who is on loan from Inter Milan and scoring at will. Longtime Schalke and Bayern Munich man Rafinha is on the squad, as is former Chelsea man Filipe Luis. Diego Alves (Valencia) is the man between the posts.

Liverpool announces changes to Club World Cup squad

Liverpool Wijnaldum
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Georginio Wijnaldum is healthy enough to make the trip to this week’s Club World Cup in Qatar, but there is no such good news for Dejan Lovren.

Liverpool released its 20-man traveling squad for the tournament on Sunday, omitting Lovren and three youth stars from the provisional roster.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Harvey Elliott, Rhian Brewster, and Curtis Jones will now be available for Tuesday’s League Cup quarterfinal against Aston Villa.

Liverpool will meet Monterrey on Wednesday in the Club World Cup semifinal, with the winner meeting either Flamengo or Al-Hilal on Saturday.

CONCACAF Champions League winners Monterrey advanced to the semi on Saturday, getting a world class strike from Leonel Vangioni in the 3-2 win.

Liga MX has never put a team in the Club World Cup Final.

Liverpool lost the 2005 CWC Final to Sao Paulo in Japan, one of three PL teams to contest the final. Chelsea lost in 2012 after Manchester United won the 2009 crown.

European sides have won 10 of the last 11 finals.

Monterrey will meet Liverpool as Vangioni scores absolute marvel

Monterrey Vangioni wonder goal
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Leonel Vangioni’s wonder goal may be a warning sign for Liverpool as Monterrey beat Al-Sadd 3-2 in a Club World Cup quarterfinal.

Vangioni, the former River Plate and AC Milan man, laced an aesthetic marvel to open the scoring, the ball rocketing around the back of the goal.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Another ex-River Plate man, Rogelio Funes Mori, scored before halftime to insure Monterrey’s advantage. Al-Sadd outscored Monterrey in the second half, but couldn’t get a late equalizer.

Monterrey meets Premier League powers Liverpool in a Wednesday semifinal. The Reds are bringing their best side to the tournament despite a League Cup date on Tuesday.

Liga MX has never put a team in the Club World Cup Final.

The other semifinal will see Brazil’s Flamengo meet Saudi side Al-Hilal.