Liverpool are champions of the world. That’s an undeniable fact. That’s something that they can never take away from you. Very little matters about the how and the why because this team got the business down in Qatar by defeating Brazilian and South American champions Flamengo 1-0, thanks to an extra time goal from Roberto Firmino. You wouldn’t remiss to suggest that Liverpool were far off their best in either of the Club World Cup matches that they played in, but they still walked away with the trophy. Does it matter? No, not really.
It’s really tough to draw any sort of conclusions from a tournament like this one. It’s a really strange thing. You fly half way around the world to play teams from different continents. It’s right in the middle of the busiest time of the year for the Premier League. It’s hosted in a country that’s full of corruption and human rights abuses. It’s just a weird tournament and I’m really glad it’s over. I’m going to choose not to read too far into anything that we saw in the matches against Monterrey and Flamengo. Liverpool beat them both. That’s all that really matters.
One of Liverpool’s key objectives heading to Qatar was to avoid serious injuries. It’s possible that, while the Reds are leaving the Middle East as World Champions, they have failed this objective. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain went off injured in the 75th minute. At one point, all fans watching the game feared the worst as it appeared that Ox had re-injured his same knee that kept him out of all 2018-19. As the medical staff was treating him on the pitch, it became apparent that it seemed to be an ankle injury. Alex was seen on crutches, wearing a boot, during the trophy ceremony after the game. Hopefully it’s not serious.
It would be blogging malpractice if I went any further in this column without mentioning how incredible Jordan Henderson was in this game. His ball to Sadio Mane to set up the winner was just beautiful. I’m starting to get used to seeing the Liverpool captain lift trophies. His little shuffle dance. Engrained in our memories forever. Long may this trend continue.
Liverpool now have physical evidence that they can point to that showcases they’re the best team in the world. Granted, it’s something we’ve known for about six months now, but having concrete evidence is always nice.
Admittedly, I feel very strange about winning this tournament. It’s probably because I, like a lot of you too, can’t stop thinking about Liverpool winning the Premier League this season. Perhaps if Liverpool are to lift that trophy in May I will feel a lot better about winning the Club World Cup. Objectively it’s very cool, but I need to be honest with my feelings. It’s all I can think about. At the beginning of this season, I saw this tournament as an opportunity for a mental break in the middle of a crazy league campaign. It was anything but that. I don’t know what the future holds but I need Liverpool to come back to league play strong. Leicester on Boxing Day. That game is the most important game of our lives. Until the next one.
Up the World Champion Reds.