Jurgen Klopp is hoping to change the way the Club World Cup is viewed in Europe by leading Liverpool to victory over Flamengo in Saturday’s final.
The Champions League holders beat Monterrey 2-1 on Wednesday through a late goal from substitute Roberto Firmino to set up a meeting with Copa Libertadores winners Flamengo.
Liverpool prioritised the semi-final with Monterrey over their EFL Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa the day before, which saw an inexperienced Reds side – the youngest in their history – thrashed 5-0.
Speaking ahead of the Club World Cup final, Klopp pointed out that Liverpool’s preparations have been markedly different to Flamengo’s due to a fixture pile-up.
“The situation is different for us as it is for Flamengo,” he said at Friday’s pre-match news conference. “They came here with a clear order to win it and come back home as heroes. We got told to stay at home and play in the EFL Cup.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 20, 2019
“But we are here and my team wants to win this competition. The view in Europe of the Club World Cup is different to the view in the rest of the world but we want to change that.
“Liverpool fans want us to win – most of the other fans don’t really care. But we saw what it means to Monterrey by how much they invested to win on Wednesday and it will be the same with Flamengo.”
Saturday’s clash with be Klopp’s first against a Brazilian side in his 18-year coaching career and will also mark the first time he has faced Jorge Jesus.
Klopp has been impressed by Jesus’ work since he took charge of Flamengo in June and is anticipating a difficult match at the Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar.
“This is the first time that I have faced a Brazilian team but this is also the first time Flamengo have played a team like Liverpool,” he said.
Then it was Dalglish & Zico. Now it’s Salah & Gabigol.
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) December 19, 2019
“I know what we have to expect. Flamengo will be intense and organised. Jorge Jesus has changed their fortunes.
“He has brought players in to the defence, he has a settled line-up, a team where everybody knows what they have to do. He was a successful coach at Benfica and at Sporting.
“He’s a character and is famous for being organised. He could go to a European club if he wanted but maybe Rio is such a nice place he wants to stay there.”
Virgil van Dijk missed the victory over Monterrey through illness and Georginio Wijnaldum was sidelined with a muscle injury.
However, both players took part in training on Friday and Klopp will continue to monitor their fitness.
“Virgil was part of training today and Gini had a session,” he said. “We will see how it looks at the end.
“We have no new concerns. We will use each hour for recovery and we will see who we can line up tomorrow [Saturday].”
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