Liverpool has the perfect opportunity to end an eventful year on a high note when they battle Brazilian side Flamengo in the FIFA Club World Cup final on Saturday.
The Reds had a difficult game against FC Monterrey, with Roberto Firmino’s added-time winner securing them a spot in the finals. The change in surroundings after having to grind through games in the Premier League took a toll, but Jurgen Klopp’s side showed resilience to get the win.
However, Flamengo will be a completely different ball-game, with the Brazilian side having much more quality to hurt the English giants. With a perfect blend of experienced individuals and explosive talents, they pack a strong punch going forward.
Liverpool could again miss Virgil Van Dijk, who missed the Monterrey game due to illness and force Jordan Henderson to slot into the centre-back role. If they have had perfectly adapted to Qatar’s environment, Klopp’s men can put on a special show on Saturday.
Of course, complacency can bite them back. Flamengo possesses enough fire-power and unpredictability to cause their shaky defence serious problems. But considering the quality Liverpool possess, they should secure their 3rd title of 2019 in style before heading back home.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Henderson, Roberston, Lallana, Milner, Keita, Salah, Firmino, Origi.
Flamengo: Alves, Rafinha, Caio, Mari, Luis, Araro, Gerson, Ribeiro, De Arrascaeta, Henrique, Gabriel.
Players To Watch Out For:
Mo Salah looked a bit ruffled in the game against Monterrey, presumably as he was still adapting himself to the new surroundings. Now that he has one game under his belt, the Egyptian should start sparkling his magic against Flamengo.
Salah’s come into the tournament in hot form, scoring goals and influencing attacks like he did in his debut season. He’s again playing with a smile on his face, dribbling past defenders and creating moves with utmost wit.
Flamengo could have serious problems dealing with him, especially if Salah tunes up his swagger to be an absolute menace in the final third.
More commonly known as “Gabigol”, Gabriel Barbosa gets his infamous nickname because of his incredible goal-scoring tendencies.
He scored 34 goals in 41 appearances for Flamengo across the league and Copa Libertadores in the bygone season, being an absolute menace for defenders all around. His precise movement and thunderous ability in the final third is guaranteed to cause problems for the European champions.
The Brazilian will look to prove his instinctive goal-scoring technique by being a thorn at Liverpool’s side and capitalize on whatever chance his side can churn out for him.