Liverpool vs. Flamengo
Liverpool: Firmino 97’
Liverpool plays four whole defenders in defense today as they take on Flamengo for the FIFA Club World Cup title. Klopp has put out his strongest starting XI to take this trophy today.
Flamengo have started out strong here. Liverpool have spent the first few minutes of this game pinned back in their own half as they try to play their way forward to limited success. After a few minutes, they seem to have gained their footing in this game.
Four minutes in, Salah feeds in Naby Keïta, but Keïta skies it well over the net. Moments later, Trent Alexander-Arnold decides that he’s going to have a shot, hitting it low and strong towards the far corner, but it goes just wide. That would have been special.
Liverpool may come to rue these missed chances. Flamengo weathered the initial Reds’ push and are now responding back, causing van Dijk and Gomez to put in some important blocks in order to keep it even.
Flamengo have committed to a high press, putting the centre-backs under pressure, but Liverpool are attempting to take advantage of that by breaking quickly, but so far the Brazilian players have been up to the challenge.
So close!! Bobby Firmino starts off the half sliding through the Flamengo defense and getting off a bouncing, dipping shot that slams into the woodwork. It should have given Liverpool the lead. Liverpool aren’t playing around as this second half begins. They are attacking the Flamengo goal in waves searching for that break through.
At the other end, Alisson denies Gabriel with an outstanding one-handed save. He pushes it behind for a corner.
As the minutes tick on here, it’s clear that Flamengo has been the great threat. For the second match in a row, Alisson has been Liverpool’s best player.
In the 75th minute, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has to be taken off due to injury. Hopefully he’s ok, but he heads straight down the tunnel for treatment. In place comes Adam Lallana.
Salah scores a goal seconds after the restart, but he’s caught offside and it’s disallowed. 78 minutes in, Liverpool finally earn their first corner of the match which comes to nothing. Your recapper has begun trying to figure out whether this match will go to extra time or straight to penalties if it remains goalless at the final whistle.
Henderson nearly does it for Liverpool. He launches a 20 yard thunderbolt that’s batted away by Alves.
The referee calls maybe the obvious penalty in the history of the sport, only to have him do a VAR check and decide that, in fact, Sadio Mané dived instead. What a legend this referee is. What a waste of my life this game has been.
Finallllllllllllyyyyyy! GOALLLL!!! 99’ - FIRMINO! - In extra time, it’s a superb ball from Jordan Henderson to Sadio Mané, who holds it up beautifully, giving Firmino time to make a run straight down the center. Mané passes it to Bobby, who leaves two defenders for dead and slots it home for the first goal of the game.
After that, Naby Keïta comes off for the fresh legs of James Milner.
Liverpool end the first half of extra time up 1-0. Let’s hope it stays that way. Goalscorer Firmino gets subbed out for Divock Origi, so he won’t get a chance to pick up a second yellow for another shirt removal. Honestly, that was the most interesting part of the game, aside from the...creative refereeing.
Salah is replaced by Xherdan Shaqiri at the end of normal time in extra time. A bit of time wasting from the manager, I think. And that’s it!
Liverpool have won another trophy! It was touch and go, but they are the FIFA Club World Cup winners, and this trip around the world was worth the trouble. Hurray!