Liverpool beat Monterrey tonight to book their place in the FIFA Club World Cup final. That means we’re only one win away from being able to call this side the “World Champions” and irritate everyone else so much while doing it.
It was far from a great performance in truth. It’s another one of those where you could write the script: Liverpool are poor for long periods, turn it on towards the end of the game, and get a late winner. The Reds were on the ropes at times, with Alisson’s quality keeping the score level. Bringing on key players late really tipped it in Liverpool’s favour. Jürgen Klopp recognised the challenge here but was nonetheless pleased.
“All you need is Alisson Becker, Alisson Becker”, the Liverpool manager told BBC Sport. “He was there in the decisive moments. A really hard game and then you can bring on the boys.
”Wonderful goal, great game, super atmosphere. We have no clue about Virgil [van Dijk, who missed the game through illness], we thought he would be fine. We will see.
”We have brought in a few kids and see what we can do line-up wise. We want to play the final and see what we can do.”
Another factor in Liverpool’s sluggishness was Jordan Henderson’s forced inclusion at centre back thanks to Van Dijk’s illness. It was clear he wasn’t a natural for this role, and it subsequently led to the midfield lacking bite. He was quite honest after the game.
“It was a bit different in defence”, the captain explained. “I just tried to do my best. Most important thing was the win, we defended well for the majority.
”Overall we have to be delighted with how things went.”
Liverpool came to win the game and did that. It was about getting to the final and, on that front, job done.