It was a close thing as Reds were tested by the Brazilian winners of the Copa Libertadores, needing extra time to put the game away through a 99th minute Roberto Firmino strike. It proved enough, as the defense held firm to the final whistle allowing for another sighting of the Jordan Henderson trophy dance as well as cheesy renditions of You’ll Never Walk Alone and Allez Allez Allez to pipe throughout the Khalifa International Stadium speakers.
The game marred by wastefulness in front of goal, shambolic refeering and yellow cards a plenty for both sides with only this Liverpool squad’s unique ability to pull a result out from nothing the thing to carry them through.
“It looks like a strength,” manager Jurgen Klopp said after the match regarding his side’s penchant for last minute goals. “We don’t want to have [the late goals] but they are necessary as it was level in the game. They were all very important like tonight. When you start believing, you believe for the 90 or 120 minutes. We believe in a chance.”
It was a particularly sweet moment for Firmino, who’s deciding goals in both games in the tournament against both champions of the Americas were a rebuke to the criticism he often faces in his home country of Brazil.
“In moments like this I struggle for the right words to describe my respect for the boys,” Klopp continued. “I don’t how they do it. An incredible performance against a good team.”
The German continues to add to his growing legend at Liverpool, as his team became only the second English club to be named world champions. The Reds return England with their third major trophy of the calendar year and eager to push on in their fight to take the Premier League crown with a crucial clash with 2nd-place Leicester City on Boxing Day.