Liverpool win Club World Cup for the first time after extra time win over Flamengo

Tom HomewoodAssistant Producer

Liverpool won the FIFA Club World Cup for the first time after Roberto Firmino’s extra time strike gave them a 1-0 win over Flamengo in Doha.

Jurgen Klopp’s side, who lost their previous final appearance in 2005 against Sao Paulo, flew out of the blocks with Firmino firing over inside the first minute, before Naby Keita and Trent Alexander-Arnold came close in the opening exchanges.

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Firmino rattled the woodwork within minutes of the restart while Alisson was called into action moments later to deny Gabriel Barbosa and keep the sides level.

Diego Alves’ flying save denied Jordan Henderson’s curling effort from 20-yards out, before the Reds were awarded a penalty which was later overturned by the referee after checking the pitch-side monitor.

Firmino won it in the eighth minute of extra-time with a composed finish after a lovely Liverpool move to become only the second English team to win the competition after Manchester United.

Referee Abdulrahman Al-Jassim reviews the challenge on Mane (Photo by Mike Hewitt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Referee Abdulrahman Al-Jassim reviews the challenge on Mane (Photo by Mike Hewitt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Virgil Van Dijk returned to the starting line-up after missing the semi-final through illness. He was one of four changes from the side who beat Monterrey on Wednesday along with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.

Firmino could have put the Champions League winners in front after just 40 seconds but blazed over the crossbar. The Flamengo defence were caught napping but the Brazilian couldn’t keep his effort down.

Jurgen Klopp’s side broke Flamengo’s back line once again in the fifth minute but Naby Keita this time couldn’t keep find the target after racing on to Salah’s lay off.

Two minutes later Alexander-Arnold came rushing forward and the Brazilian side’s defence parted far too easily. The right-back’s low drive was just wide of the post as they continued to push for the opener.

Flamengo, who beat Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal in the semi-finals, grew into the match and dominated parts of the first half, but failed to make Alisson work or make a meaningful save.

Firmino fails to hit the target inside the first minute (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
Firmino fails to hit the target inside the first minute (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Firmino had the best chance of the game after the restart. Latching on to a ball from Jordan Henderson, sending a Flamengo defender dizzy with a deft lob over his head, then slightly scuffing against the inside of the left-hand post.

Within minutes Alexander-Arnold beat his man down the right and pulled back to Salah, whose first-time shot flashed just past the post.

At the other end Alisson was called into action to make the first real save of the match. Gabriel Barbosa’s effort was nestling into the far corner, but for the Brazilian’s smart stop.

Jordan Henderson strike’s from 20-yards out was heading towards the top corner but the Liverpool captain was denied by a fantastic flying save by Diego Alves with only four minutes left to play.

Sadio Mane raced clean through in the final minute of the match and was deemed to have been brought down by Rafinha when taking aim inside the area.

The referee originally pointed the spot and awarded Liverpool a penalty, but after a VAR check and then referee Abdulrahman Al Jassim viewing the footage again himself, he overturned his decision completely, giving Flamengo the ball despite clear contact.

Mane striking the ball as Rafinha comes in from behind (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Mane striking the ball as Rafinha comes in from behind (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)

Firmino finally broke the deadlock eight minutes into extra time. Mane pulled it back for the 28-year-old, who took his time, touched inside to wrong foot the keeper and fire into the back of the net.

Salah almost made it 2-0 within seconds after he cut in on the right and tried to bend one into the far corner, but Alves was equal to it.

Klopp’s well drilled side saw the second half of extra time out comfortably to ensure a historic win for Liverpool and a first ever Club World Cup triumph.

Monterrey clinched third place in the competition after a dramatic 4-3 penalty shoot-out win over Al Hilal.

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