Roberto Firmino was the man who stole the show for Liverpool in the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup. The former Hoffenheim star, who scored the winner on stoppage time during the tournament’s semifinals against Monterrey, was key for The Reds once again. His goal on extra time lifted Liverpool towards claiming the FIFA Club World Cup title in Doha, Qatar.
The match, however, was not as easy as one would have imagined. Even though the Reds were massive favourites on paper, they needed almost 100 minutes to break down Flamengo’s resistance.
Reds dominated the first half, but they couldn’t score
Liverpool needed less than 60 seconds to create the first chance of the game, when Firmino blasted a shot that went over Diego Alves’ goal. Trent Alexander-Arnold also tested Diego Alves with a long-range effort, but his shot went left to the post. The Reds were dominating with ease right from the start.
Flamengo settled down afterwards, however, and they began to show good composure against the UEFA Champions League winners. They struggled to create chances, however, but they came close to score in the 27th minute when Bruno Henrique tested Alisson from close range. However, a defender appeared at the last second to clear the ball away.
The first half ended with a scoreless draw, but it was clear Liverpool looked far more comfortable out there. That tendency was reflected as soon as the second half started, since The Reds quickly created two chances in the first five minutes after the break.
Firmino and Salah complicated Flamengo after the break
First it was Firmino with a shot that rattled the bar and, three minutes later, it was Mohamed Salah who flew his effort wide to the right. The Egyptian star was well controlled by Flamengo’s defensive line and struggled to make much of an impact during the first 60 minutes of the game.
Flamengo were alive, though. Gabriel Barbosa was not able to rattle the opposing defence, but he appeared every time he received an inch of space. The former Inter Milan striker had his first chance to score in the 53rd minute, but Alisson saved the attempt with a spectacular shot.
Both teams saved the best for last, as the game increased its intensity from the 75th minute onwards. Salah had a disallowed goal, Alexander-Arnold had a clear header, and Jordan Henderson tested Alves from mid-range. The former Valencia goalkeeper was magnificent time and time again to deny the European giants.
Liverpool could have had their best chance to score on stoppage time when Sadio Mane was brought down inside the box. Referee Abdulrahman Al Jassim initially called a penalty, but the VAR assistance thought otherwise, and the initial call was denied. As a result, the initial 90 minutes ended scoreless. Extra time was needed to determine who was going to be the new FIFA Club World Cup champion.
Firmino saved the day for The Reds
Repeating the tendency of both halves during regulation, Liverpool looked better after the break but this time, they capitalized on their chances. A great pass from Sadio Mane found Firmino, and the Brazilian slotted the ball past Alves with ease. The Reds finally got the break they were hoping for, and they defended it with everything they had.
Flamengo couldn’t create many chances in the extra time despite adding another attacking player in Lincoln. The attacking midfielder had one shot in the 119th minute but his attempt went over the bar.
The Reds sealed the contest due to their bigger experience on these stages, and they ended lifting another title to end the 2019 calendar year on a strong note. Flamengo will continue to be the top team in the CONMEBOL region. But Liverpool’s pedigree and quality were just too much for the Brazilian giants.
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, van Dijk, Gomez, Robertson; Keita (Milner, 100’), Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Lallana, 75’); Salah (Shaqiri, 120+1’), Firmino (Origi, 106’), Mane
Flamengo: Diego Alves; Rafinha, Rodrigo Caio, Pablo Mari, Filipe Luís; Willian Arao, Gerson (Lincoln, 102’); Everton Ribeiro (Diego, 82’), De Arrascaeta (Vitinho, 77’), Bruno Henrique; Gabriel Barbosa
Goals: Firmino (1-0, 99’)
Referee: Abdulrahman Al Jassim
Yellow Cards: Mane, Salah, Firmino, Milner (LIV); Vitinho, Diego (FLA)
Red Cards: None
Venue: Khalifa International Stadium
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