After a long time, the final of the FIFA Club World Cup provided some intensity. Flamengo came to this tournament with a lot of hype because of their charismatic performance in South American competitions. Jorge Jesus has created a unit, which is capable of scripting the glory days of Brazil Clubs in such competitions. This final was the repeat of that encounter in 1981, where an outstanding Flamengo side outclassed the then European Champions Liverpool – Zico, Junior and co left the Reds clueless and since then, Flamego just remained a shadow of the past.

Liverpool came to Doha to win and they were not thinking of something else. After a brief period, the draught of trophies ended this year and alongside UEFA Champions League and European Super they wished to add FIFA Club Cup in their cabinet. They did not wish to repeat the 1984 result against Flamengo, 1984 against Independiente and 2005 against Sao Paolo. Previously, Manchester United had been the only English club to have earned the distinction of being crowned world champions, in 1999 and 2008. So, Liverpool had a tough task at their hand.

To overcome the scare of Flamego would never be easy, but Jurgen Klopp, the boss of Liverpool, has a player named Roberto Firmino, who is blessed with X-factor and habituated to script last-minute finishes.

In the UEFA Super Cup, Liverpool were struggling at Istanbul by Chelsea. At half-time they were 0-1 down –  brought on Roberto Firmino. Within 5 minutes the Brazilian had assisted Sadio Mane to make it 1-1 and then later in the extra-time he did the same again to make it 2-1. Chelsea equalized but Liverpool won the shootout – Firmono scored there as well.

In the semifinal of the FIFA Club World Cup semi-final, the match was locked at 1-1 with Monterey. At the fag end of normal time, Trent-Alexander Arnold sent a cross in and Roberto Firmino, who came off the bench with 5 minutes to go, touched one with enough depth and beauty to sent home and help Liverpool advance to the final.

In the final, Liverpool found the going tough. Both teams could not be separated in normal time and the match went to extra-time. The match could have been finished earlier had Liverpool not wasted opportunities – Firmino missed the target twice while being well placed to score. Liverpool also had a last-gasp penalty award struck off in normal time following a VAR review, giving Flamengo a lifeline.

Jordan Henderson freed Mohamed Salah to provide the ball to Naby Keita, who wasted it before Trent Alexander-Arnold drilled one wide. Firmino should have netted at the start of the second, brilliantly lifting the ball over Rodrigo Caio but it kissed the left-side of the post. Then, Salan wasted one wide, while Flamengo’s Gabriel Barbosa then had two sights of goal in quick succession and tested compatriot Alisson with the second. In the 86th minute, a curling-effort by Jordan Henderson was cleared with a late touch by Diego Alves.

Extra-time commenced and in such moments, any team would require someone to create a magical moment – Liver had Firmino. Flamengo did not have one.

It was nearly 10 minutes into extra time, a great ball came from Jordan Henderson went to Sadio Mane, who gave Firmino the ball for his third clear-cut chance and this time he made no mistake, sitting the defender and goalkeeper down before hammering home the goal and the score remained the same until the final whistle.

Firmino’s moment of magic might overshadow the contributions of many in a tight affair, but one man’s contribution could hardly be denied and that is none other than the leader Henderson – tireless, great control over the ball and key passes from the deep hallmarked his display at Doha. Liverpool are so blessed to have such a leader in the middle of the park.

Finally, Liverpool have won the trophy, which eluded them for a while. Another trophy has been added to their cabinet and not it is the high time to chase the English Premier League Trophy this season and end the 30-year wait. Leicester City lost against Manchester City, meaning Klopp’s men will be 10 points clear at the Premier League summit at Christmas with a game in hand – moreover, Klopp’s men are the favorites to lift the Champions League again this season.


Liverpool are not finished yet. Perhaps, the best is yet to come.

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