Liverpool’s quest to win a first-ever Fifa World Club Cup comes to its conclusion when they face Brazilian side Flamengo on Saturday.
The Reds overcome a tough test against Mexican side Monterrey in the semi-finals, running out 2-1 winners on Wednesday thanks to a stoppage-time goal from Roberto Firmino.
Flamengo, meanwhile, came from behind to beat Saudi side Al-Hilal 3-1 in their semi-final, setting up a repeat clash of the 1981 Continental Cup final — where Mengão beat the Reds 3-0 in the crowning moment of their history.
Will the Brazilian side repeat history and achieve continental glory once again, or will Liverpool finally add this elusive trophy to their collection? Read on for our preview, predictions, team news and TV coverage information.
Liverpool vs Flamengo live stream or TV channel information:
Competition: Fifa Club World Cup
Venue: Khalifa International Stadium
Date: Saturday, 21 August 2019
Kick-off: 5:30 PM (UK time)
TV coverage (UK): BBC One
Previous meetings: Liverpool vs Flamengo
13 Dec 1981: Flamengo 3-0 Liverpool (Intercontinental Cup final)
This fixture represents the high point in Flamengo’s 124-year history, with the Brazilian giants pulling off a shock 3-0 win over a Liverpool side containing the likes of Kenny Dalglish, Alan Hansen and Graeme Souness to reel off just a few household names. At the time, Liverpool were the dominant force in European and English football and as ever with South American sides, victory against this sort of opposition was greatly celebrated, going down in CONMEBOL folklore.
Ones to watch
Liverpool: Mohamed Salah
The Club World Cup may not hold much sway in Europe but throughout the rest of the world, the chance to take on the giants of Uefa is greatly relished. Klopp will know this and is sure to field his strongest possible XI in order to finally deliver this elusive title for Liverpool.
In that case, Mohamed Salah is almost certain to line up on the flanks and will look to use his pace and trickery to exploit Flamengo’s two ageing full-backs, Filipe Luis and Rafinha. Bank on him delivering the goods in another big game.
Key stat: Salah has been directly involved in five goals across his last four games, scoring four and assisting once.
Flamengo: Gabriel Barbosa
“Gabigol” has very quickly established himself as something of a legend during his short time with Flamengo, scoring a stunning late brace as the Brazilians came from behind to beat River Plate in the 2019 Copa Libertadores final.
The 23-year-old has an incredible strike rate of 43 goals in 58 games for Flamengo and will be without a doubt Liverpool’s biggest concern on Saturday. Can Gabriel Barbosa exploit Liverpool’s lack of fitness at centre-back?
Key stat: Gabigol scored seven goals in six games during Flamengo’s 2019 Copa Libertadores winning campaign.
Despite having an incredibly demanding schedule awaiting them when they return from Qatar, Klopp will want to field his strongest possible Liverpool XI in order to finally seal this trophy.
The German will, however, have to do without Georginio Wijnaldum, who hasn’t returned to fitness in time, while Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren, Fabinho, Nathanial Clyne all remain sidelined.
Virgil van Dijk is expected to be available, Klopp confirmed on Friday, adding: “We have no new injury concerns. We played on Wednesday and now it’s Friday so we are using each hour for recovery and then we will see who we can line up.”
Predicted XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk. Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Henderson, Milner; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
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Flamengo have had a much lighter recent schedule than Liverpool and, as such, Jorge Jesus has a fully fit squad to choose from.
Predicted XI: Alves; Rafinha, Caio, Mari, Luis; Gerson, Arao; Everton, Arrascaeta, Henrique; Barbosa.
Given their surprising lack of success in this tournament, this Club World Cup final is likely to mean much more to Liverpool than most other European sides.
Flamengo are sure to be a tough test and have a great blend of attacking talent, youth and experience. But with a full-strength side, Klopp’s men should have enough to get the job done.
Scoreline prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Flamengo
Check out more of Squawka’s betting tips here.