- Alisson relishing chance to fulfil childhood dream
- Andy Robertson sets eyes on “fantastic” Flamengo
- Crucial pair kept Monterrey at bay in makeshift defence
Liverpool stood firm in Doha against a lively Monterrey to tee up a FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019 final against Flamengo. It was one step closer to completing a dream for the man who kept the Reds in the game as they searched for their winner.
“It’s something I’ve grown up with, the dream and life goal of playing in a Club World Cup,” Alisson told FIFA.com at fulltime.
“Yesterday my former club, Internacional from Porto Alegre, celebrated when they won the Club World Cup (in 2006). I was just a supporter at that time, and I remember the moment – I was with my friends and I celebrated it a lot.”
The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper’s next task will be keeping the number of Brazilian title-winners down to three, with Flamengo out to get their hands on it for the first time. It’s a meeting the national team star is relishing.
“It means a lot to be facing a Brazilian team in the final. I like their style of play and I have many friends on their side,” he explained. “We’re very proud to be here, we want to win it and we’ll give everything on the pitch to make it happen.”
More in the locker
When at their best Flamengo can rival Liverpool at their free-flowing peak, but Andy Robertson acknowledged that neither the Merseysiders nor their upcoming opponents hit top gear in their semi-final victories.
“We know they’re a fantastic team with a lot of experience, that have played worldwide at the highest level, so we know we need to be better than tonight,” the full-back admitted, fresh from seeing Roberto Firmino snatch their 2-1 stoppage-time victory. “They struggled in the first half, but they dominated the second half and rightly got into the final.”
The fact is Liverpool’s side was somewhat experimental. Injuries, combined with wanting to keep their powder dry for a potential final, saw reshuffles from top to bottom. Arguably only he and Alisson would be in Jurgen Klopp’s first-choice defence.
“The team we put out, we’ve probably never played, especially Jordan Henderson in his first game at centre-back, but he showed the kind of professional he is. We’ve got a couple of days to prepare for the final, we’ll maybe have a couple of players back, so we’ll be good to go.”
Fresh till the end
With Monterrey sitting deep and looking to capitalise on the uncertainty within Liverpool’s side with some direct play, Robertson found the space he loves down the left flank hard to come by. It became something of a war of attrition that took until the 91st minute to be won.
“It was a proper game. They put everything into it. You could see them getting really tired and we knew we had the fitness to get the better of them.
“The last 15-20 minutes really opened up for us and that’s when the gaps started to appear. We knew we had to be patient but it’s all about getting into the final.”
So, that’s step one complete. Now it’s all about being able to go home with the words ‘world champion’ ringing in your ears.