Alisson hailed the importance of Roberto Firmino to Liverpool after the forward's winning goal against Flamengo in the Club World Cup final.

Firmino netted two winners in as many games for the European champions at the tournament, which Liverpool won for the first time thanks to Saturday's 1-0 victory.

The 28-year-old is often questioned due to his lack of goals – he has six this season – despite his vital contributions, but Brazil team-mate Alisson talked up his importance.

"We know and he knows how important he is for the team. And we value him a lot. I think he is one of the most important players for us," the goalkeeper said.

"He doesn't just score, but he assists too. He makes the team play from behind, he helps us a lot and makes a difference.

"We are really happy and I am really happy that he could score, it's important for a striker to score and I'm really happy for everybody and this title."

Liverpool needed extra time to get past Flamengo, with Firmino netting the only goal in the 99th minute.

Divock Origi, who replaced Firmino during extra time, also hailed his fellow forward.

"'Bobby' is an amazing player. He showed it again, the finishing for me was top class and it helped us win the game," he said.

"I told him after the game I'm very happy for him."

Liverpool, who are 10 points clear and have a game in hand in the Premier League, visit second-placed Leicester City on Thursday.

Gabriel Barbosa was unwilling to discuss his future just yet after Flamengo's Club World Cup final defeat to Liverpool on Saturday.

Gabriel played 120 minutes as Flamengo suffered a 1-0 extra-time loss to the European champions in Doha.

The forward is on loan from Inter, but that deal expires at the end of the year and the 23-year-old has been linked with a move to West Ham in January.

Speaking after the defeat, Gabriel said he would eventually reveal his future.

"We played as equals against Liverpool. We had some chances to score. We obviously suffered, but now I'm on vacation," he said.

"I will enjoy this and slowly talk about my future."

Roberto Firmino's 99th-minute goal was all that separated Liverpool and Flamengo at the Khalifa International Stadium.

Gabriel praised his team's performance despite the loss, saying they had their opportunities.

"I think we had a great game, we had a chance to score and we didn't, but we played and fought against a great team," he said.

"Obviously we didn't get the goals but we created chances and until the last minute they ended up scoring. It was a great game."

Gabriel scored 43 goals in 59 games in all competitions for Flamengo after joining on loan in January this year.

Jurgen Klopp paid tribute to his Liverpool team following their Club World Cup triumph over Flamengo, claiming he has difficulty putting his respect for his players into words.

Liverpool were pitted against Copa Libertadores champions Flamengo in Saturday's final in Doha.

The score remained goalless at the end of the regulation 90 minutes, but Roberto Firmino finally ended his compatriots' resistance in the 99th minute.

Despite Flamengo enjoying some late pressure, Liverpool held on to secure a first triumph in the competition, and Klopp found it difficult to describe his feelings.

"I struggle to find the words to express my respect for the boys, it was incredible. We did so many good things," Klopp told reporters in Doha.

"I saw so many sensationally good performances and I am really happy. I think we deserved the win. We were the better side.

"In the deciding moments we had a really good goalkeeper and in the other moments we were the dominant team, so I am really happy.

"It was a very intense game for different reasons; it was not our best game we have ever played, but it was enough to win.

"This was a wonderful night for the club. I said before I didn't know how it would feel. Now I know it feels outstanding, absolutely sensational. I am so proud of the boys."

It was the latest example of Liverpool clinching a victory thanks to a late goal, with it becoming something of a habit for the Reds.

Klopp puts it down to belief.

"It looks like a strength," he said. "We don't want to have [the late goals], but they are necessary as it was level in the game.

"They were all very important like tonight. When you start believing, you believe for the 90 or 120 minutes. We believe in a chance."

Liverpool return to action in the Premier League on Boxing Day when they travel to second-placed Leicester City, who were unable to close the gap at the top on Saturday as they were beaten 3-1 at Manchester City.

The Reds, who have a game in hand over the Foxes and reigning champions City, are 10 points clear.

Liverpool secured their second trophy in the 2019-20 season on Saturday, lifting the Club World Cup in Qatar after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Flamengo.

It was a long-awaited first triumph in the competition - including their previous appearances in the Intercontinental Cup - as Jurgen Klopp managed to achieve what club legends Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Rafael Benitez found a step too far during their respective tenures on Merseyside.

Having scored a dramatic late winner in the semi-final, Roberto Firmino was once again on target for the Reds on Saturday. The Brazil international crushed the hopes of his compatriots in the first period of extra time, converting Sadio Mane's pass.

After their success in Doha, we look back at Liverpool's previous near misses - and how those seasons panned out once they returned home.

 

1981: FLAMENGO LEAD REDS A MERRY DANCE

Having opted not to play in the 1978 fixture, the Reds travelled to Tokyo three years later to face Copa Libertadores holders Flamengo.

Liverpool had secured their place in the game by lifting the European Cup in May, Alan Kennedy the unlikely hero with the only goal in a 1-0 triumph over Real Madrid. The full-back left it late too, collecting a throw-in from Ray Kennedy before ghosting into the penalty area to beat goalkeeper Agustin Rodriguez in the 82nd minute.

However, Paisley's star-studded team were no match for their Brazilian opponents, losing 3-0. Flamengo did all the scoring in the first half, Nunes' brace sandwiching a goal from Adilio.

Liverpool lost their first game back following their journey to Japan, going down 3-1 to Manchester City on December 26, but still went on to be crowned champions, finishing four points clear of Ipswich Town. They also lifted the League Cup, recording a 3-1 triumph over Tottenham at Wembley thanks to two goals from Ronnie Whelan.

 

1984: INDEPENDIENTE STRIKE EARLY

Fagan was in charge for Liverpool's fourth European Cup win, sealed on penalties at the expense of Roma. The shoot-out will forever be synonymous with Bruce Grobbelaar and his spaghetti legs, the goalkeeper deploying wobbly limbs in an attempt to put off opponents as they approached the spot. 

The tactic may well have worked as three players missed for the Italians, allowing Kennedy to once again make a telling contribution in a final, the defender converting the winning kick.

They were back in Tokyo again before the end of the year, this time Independiente their opponents. The Argentine club grabbed an early lead through Jose Percudani in the sixth minute and defended resolutely for the remainder of the contest.

Liverpool finished a distant second to neighbours Everton in the league, while also losing 1-0 to Juventus in a European Cup final overshadowed by crowd trouble at Heysel Stadium. Fagan would retire after the Reds finished a campaign without silverware for the first time in a decade.


2005: SAO PAULO DENY BENITEZ AND CO. 

FIFA had merged the Intercontinental Cup and Club World Championship by 2005, giving us the modern format with more participants involved.

Liverpool were involved again thanks to one of the most memorable European nights in their storied history, with Benitez's team rallying from three goals down at half-time against Milan to complete what will forever be known as the 'Miracle of Istanbul'. 

Jerzy Dudek was one of the heroes - channelling his inner Grobbelaar during the shoot-out - but he was no longer first-choice goalkeeper by December, demoted following the arrival of Pepe Reina.

The Reds eased past Costa Rican opponents Saprissa in the semi-final but would lose to Sao Paulo, Mineiro - who would go on to have a forgettable spell at Chelsea - scoring the solitary goal of the game in 27th minute.

Still, Benitez's squad did secure silverware in 2005-06, lifting the FA Cup in Cardiff after Steven Gerrard produced a long-range stunner to force extra time against West Ham. As for the Premier League, they finished third, nine points behind champions Chelsea.

Jordan Henderson is keen for Liverpool to keep improving after winning the Club World Cup for the first time with a 1-0 victory over Flamengo in Doha.

Reds captain Henderson was in inspirational form as the Premier League leaders became world champions on Saturday, adding to their European crown from June courtesy of an extra-time Roberto Firmino strike.

Liverpool have become renowned for late goals under Jurgen Klopp, and it was no different on this occasion as Firmino netted in the 99th minute, having passed up big chances as early as 40 seconds in.

Henderson lauded his side, telling BBC Sport: "We have found a way for a long time now, some late goals.

"We just want to keep going, onto the next game, onto the next performance, keep improving. We keep our feet on the ground and keep working hard and keep putting in performances like that."

Assessing the final, in which Flamengo also threatened and should have equalised through substitute Lincoln, Henderson said: "It feels very good. It was an interesting game.

"I am sure it was interesting to watch, but we kept going, good performance and the mentality again shone through.

"We should have scored a couple more, but we defended really well. Overall, we're delighted with the result and the performance in difficult conditions.

"Fair play to the lads - they kept going right until the end and got the goal in extra time."

Roberto Firmino struck in extra time to claim a first Club World Cup title for European champions Liverpool as they beat Flamengo 1-0 in Doha on Saturday.

A tightly contested final should have been settled by Firmino long before the 99th minute, but the usually reliable forward twice missed the target when well placed.

Liverpool also had a last-gasp penalty award struck off in normal time following a VAR review, giving Flamengo - victors over the Reds in the 1981 Intercontinental Cup final - a lifeline.

However, the Premier League leaders dominated the additional period, and Firmino finally found the net to tee up yet more celebrations on Merseyside.

Liverpool scored inside two minutes of June's Champions League final, and Firmino should have put them in front after just 40 seconds on Saturday, lifting his finish over the crossbar after breaching the Flamengo back-line.

Naby Keita was similarly wasteful when Jordan Henderson freed Mohamed Salah to tee up the midfielder, before Trent Alexander-Arnold drilled wide in an extremely positive start for Jurgen Klopp's side.

After toiling for the remainder of the first half, Firmino again should have netted at the start of the second, brilliantly lifting the ball over Rodrigo Caio but slamming left-footed into the left-hand post.

Salah stabbed wide as another Liverpool flurry continued, yet Gabriel Barbosa then had two sights of goal in quick succession and tested compatriot Alisson with the second.

While Liverpool were dealt a blow as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hobbled off after landing awkwardly, Henderson almost stole victory with an 86th-minute curling try that was touched over by Diego Alves.

There was still room for late drama before extra time, as referee Abdulrahman Al Jassim initially awarded a stoppage-time spot-kick against Rafinha for a foul on Sadio Mane, only to then assess the incident on the pitchside monitor and reverse his decision.

It was a reprieve that lasted only nine minutes into extra time, when Henderson set clear Mane, who squared for the composed Firmino to sit down goalkeeper Alves and rifle into the net.

Salah was denied a swift second by Alves, and substitute Lincoln should have got Flamengo back on level terms in the 119th minute, instead blazing over in front of goal to ensure Klopp's side the title.

 

What does it mean? Christmas cheer for new world champions

Liverpool's wait for a domestic league title may have extended into a 30th year, but 2019 has been hugely successful for the club.

After holding Tottenham at bay in the Champions League final, their class eventually told against tricky foes Flamengo, too. Meanwhile, Leicester City lost at Manchester City, meaning Klopp's men will be 10 points clear at the Premier League summit at Christmas with a game in hand. The coming 12 months should be equally exciting for those of a red persuasion.

Heroic Henderson the man for the big occasion

Captain Henderson was an inspirational figure in the attritional Champions League triumph against Spurs, and he was key again in this final.

The England international was tireless in the middle of midfield but also showed his quality on the ball, playing some wonderful passes from deep - including one that led to the winner.

Controversial late call not costly for Reds

Firmino passed up glaring opportunities at the start of either half in normal time, but Liverpool undoubtedly would have focused their ire on the officials had they fallen short in the additional 30 minutes.

Replays suggested there was contact from Rafinha as Mane missed his kick and, while the foul looked to be just outside the area, meaning Al Jassim was right to overturn the penalty award, the defender surely should have been sent off with a finely poised free-kick given.

What's next?

After this manic week with three matches in five days on two continents, Liverpool return to Premier League action against second-placed Leicester City on Boxing Day. Flamengo's outstanding 2019 season is now over.

Antonio Mohamed says Luis Cardenas "deserves all the credit" for Monterrey's third-place play-off win over Al-Hilal at the Club World Cup after his penalty shoot-out heroics.

Cardenas kept out spot-kicks from Carlos Eduardo and Mohamed Kanno before converting the decisive penalty himself to seal his side's joint-best finish at the tournament.

Monterrey head coach Mohamed was quick to dedicate the victory to his back-up goalkeeper, who came into the side as one of 11 changes from the semi-final loss to Liverpool.

"He deserves all the credit," Mohamed said at his post-match news conference. "We have a tactic for the penalty takers. 

"I gave him the confidence to take it and I'm very happy because the team played with a lot of personality."

Saturday's entertaining match at the Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar finished 2-2 after 90 minutes.

Arturo Gonzalez and Maximiliano Meza scored quickfire goals early in the second half to cancel out Eduardo's 35th-minute opener, but substitute Bafetimbi Gomis headed in to force penalties.

Monterrey matched their third-place finish off 2012 and Mohamed is pleased with the way his side bounced back from their 2-1 loss to Liverpool in the last round.

"The players gave all they could," he said. "The win brings joy to all those who supported us and believed in us.

"We wanted to play in the final, but I said we could win this match and we did it. I am very happy and proud to belong to Monterrey."

Mohamed's opposite number Razvan Lucescu felt his side's schedule was to blame for their 4-3 shoot-out defeat, but was proud of his side's efforts to reach the last four.

"We were unlucky, but at least the match was good for the spectators," he said. "It's a disappointment, even if it wasn't the same feeling playing for third place.

"We tried our best but in the end the fatigue was felt. The players have had a busy program lately. We showed the world what we can do and I still have goals to achieve with Al-Hilal."

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain appeared to suffer another injury blow as he hobbled out of Liverpool's Club World Cup final with Flamengo on Saturday.

The England international was out of action for almost a year after damaging multiple knee ligaments against Roma in the 2017-18 Champions League semi-finals.

Oxlade-Chamberlain missed much of last season as Liverpool became European champions and pushed Manchester City to the final day in the Premier League title race.

But the former Arsenal midfielder has been able to feature regularly this season, starting against Flamengo as the Reds sought to become world champions for the first time.

However, with the game still goalless with 15 minutes remaining, Oxlade-Chamberlain appeared to land awkwardly on his right ankle, beating the ground in pain.

A stretcher was called after brief treatment on the pitch, although Oxlade-Chamberlain was able to walk off to be replaced by Adam Lallana.

Goalkeeper Luis Cardenas saved two penalties and scored the decisive spot-kick as Monterrey beat Al-Hilal 4-3 in a shoot-out to finish third at the Club World Cup after a 2-2 draw in normal time.

Carlos Eduardo gave Al-Hilal the lead with the only goal of the first half, but a weakened Monterrey side hit back through quickfire goals from Arturo Gonzalez and Maximiliano Meza before the hour.

Substitute Bafetimbi Gomis scored six minutes after being introduced from the bench to ensure Saturday's match at the Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar went all the way to penalties.

And it was Antonio Mohamed's men who prevailed in dramatic circumstances, with Cardenas proving the spot-kick hero by keeping out attempts from Eduardo and Mohamed Kanno before converting from 12 yards to secure victory.

Monterrey made 11 changes from their 2-1 semi-final defeat to Liverpool and fell behind after 35 minutes when Eduardo got between two defenders to head in Yasser Al-Shahrani's cross from 10 yards.

Gonzalez got Al-Hilal - beaten 3-1 by Flamengo in the last round - back on level terms with a powerful header 10 minutes into the second half after being teed up by Jonathan Urretaviscaya.

The Mexican side completed the comeback five minutes later through Meza's composed finish, the midfielder controlling Angel Zaldivar's drilled pass and tucking it past Abdullah Al-Mayoof with his second touch.

But it was all square once again six minutes later as Gomis was left all alone to convert Eduardo's right-sided cross, despite Cardenas getting a hand to it.

Gomis hit the post late on as the match went to a penalty shoot-out, which was decided by the heroics of Cardenas.

The keeper saved found the bottom-left corner after keeping out Eduardo and Kanno, with Vasquez having missed for Monterrey.

Virgil van Dijk will start for Liverpool in the Club World Cup final against Flamengo in Doha on Saturday.

The Netherlands star sat out the 2-1 semi-final win over Monterrey after falling ill, meaning Jordan Henderson started at centre-back alongside Joe Gomez.

Van Dijk returns for the match at Khalifa International Stadium, though, while Trent Alexander-Arnold also comes back into the starting line-up at right-back in place of James Milner.

Henderson moves into midfield, with Adam Lallana dropping to the bench, while Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane come in for Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri.

This will be the second competitive meeting between Liverpool and Flamengo, the Brazilians having won 3-0 in the previous meeting in the Inter-Continental Cup final in 1981.

Jurgen Klopp's side are aiming to win the FIFA tournament for the first time, having lost the 2005 final to Sao Paulo.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said winning the Club World Cup would be "like landing on the moon" as the Reds look to claim the competition for the first time.

Champions League holders Liverpool meet Copa Libertadores winners and Brazilian giants Flamengo in Saturday's Club World Cup final in Doha.

One of the most decorated clubs in football with 18 league titles and six European Cup/Champions League trophies, Liverpool have never won the Club World Cup.

Liverpool lost the Intercontinental Cup – pitting the Champions League winners against Libertadores holders – in 1981 (Flamengo) and 1984 (Independiente) before it merged with the Club World Cup in 2005. The Reds lost to Sao Paulo that year.

"I don't know how you approach something that has never been done before – it is like landing on the moon," Klopp told reporters.

"It means more to them [fans in South America] but to the players? No," Klopp added of his team, who lead the Premier League. "Did it mean more to Tottenham in the Champions League final? More to Chelsea [in the Super Cup final]?

"When our boys play football they show every time they want to win. Is it an advantage the whole country or continent wants Flamengo to win it more? I don't know. Mexico wanted to win it more than people in England and we beat their team, so we will see.

"For the players it is no problem. We spoke about it a few months ago and asked how did they want to play it? It wasn’t that they could decide but how do you see it? They said: 'We go!' Since then it's never changed. The boys are 100 per cent clear. They didn't need Ali [Alisson] telling them or Bobby [Firmino] telling them or Fabinho telling them about the importance. They are footballers, they are sportsmen and they want to win everything they can.

"It is how it sounds: the team world cup winner. You don't often get the chance to do so and for most of them, with the countries they play for, they never have a chance to win a World Cup so this is the only chance. For me as well. But who cares about me? I don't feel pressure but I feel a really big opportunity and I want to do it."

Flamengo coach Jorge Jesus says Liverpool have left a mark on world football ahead of Saturday's Club World Cup final between the sides in Qatar.

European champions Liverpool are 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League and have not been beaten in the competition since January 3.

But they needed a late Roberto Firmino goal to squeeze through a tight semi-final against Monterrey, while Jesus' side beat Al Hilal 3-1 to book their place in the final.

South America's representatives Flamengo secured their spot at the Club World Cup with a dramatic late comeback against River Plate in the final of the Copa Libertadores.

Benfica and Sporting CP boss Jesus feels there are similarities between Flamengo and Liverpool going into the Club World Cup final. 

"We can't easily compare two good teams," he told a news conference. "Yes, Liverpool have a distinct history, especially in recent years. 

"They've won many titles and they are one of the best clubs in the world. Jurgen Klopp has been with the team for many years and has accomplished a lot with them, not only in the English league. They won the European Champions League. 

"So, Liverpool have left their mark in world football. When we compare Liverpool and Flamengo, we know Flamengo are enjoying an excellent year, especially this season. 

"We won the Brazilian league title and the Copa Libertadores, so there are great similarities between Liverpool and Flamengo in terms of their international presence."

Flamengo winger Everton Ribeiro understands Liverpool will pose a tough challenge for his side but indicated Jesus has a plan to put in action against the Reds.

"We know Liverpool have very few weak points," Everton told reporters. 

"But, along with our coach, we created strategies to make our football work, based on what they will present to us. 

"I won't say much because this would be anticipating what we will do as a priority but we have our strategy and what we had to do is done.

"Now we'll put it to work on the field."

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson says playing in Saturday's Club World Cup final against Flamengo will be a "dream come true".

Champions League winners Liverpool face Copa Libertadores holders Flamengo in a blockbuster clash at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

The Reds are out to win the trophy for the first time, but Brazil international Alisson acknowledged sides hailing from his own country put greater importance on the competition.

Speaking at Friday's pre-match news conference, the ex-Internacional stopper said: "I still watch Brazilian football, especially my former club, and Flamengo are a joy to watch.

"I'm excited to be playing in the Club World Cup final - it is a dream come true. I was a young boy at 14 when I watched my club Internacional win it in 2006 as a fan.

"Now I'm here with this opportunity to win it with Liverpool.

"It's big for Brazilians, but I think it's bigger for the people playing in it. People on the outside don't give value to this competition because it's limited just for the winners."

Alisson produced a number of important saves in the 2-1 semi-final win against Monterrey, keeping Liverpool on course for a maiden triumph in the annual showpiece.

The 27-year-old, named the best goalkeeper in the world earlier this month, is keen to write his name in Anfield folklore by lifting the trophy this weekend.

"Flamengo won the Copa Libertadores and we won the Champions League while many other clubs won big competitions too and that's why we are here," he said.

"We are making this big for us, because this is important to put our name in the history of the club, that this is the first time ever that Liverpool will win it and we do our best."

Flamengo beat River Plate 2-1 in the Copa Libertadores final on November 23 and were crowned champions of their domestic league 24 hours later.

Alisson is expecting a difficult test, adding: "They have shown how good they are by winning the Brazilian league, which is difficult to win. It is a great competition and they play really good football.

"In their last game there were more than 10,000 Flamengo supporters, but this is not just big for them, it's big for us also. We want to win it and we will try to do our best on the pitch."

Jurgen Klopp is hoping to change the way the Club World Cup is viewed in Europe by leading Liverpool to victory over Flamengo in Saturday's final.

The Champions League holders beat Monterrey 2-1 on Wednesday through a late goal from substitute Roberto Firmino to set up a meeting with Copa Libertadores winners Flamengo.

Liverpool prioritised the semi-final with Monterrey over their EFL Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa the day before, which saw an inexperienced Reds side - the youngest in their history - thrashed 5-0.

Speaking ahead of the Club World Cup final, Klopp pointed out that Liverpool's preparations have been markedly different to Flamengo's due to a fixture pile-up.

"The situation is different for us as it is for Flamengo," he said at Friday's pre-match news conference. "They came here with a clear order to win it and come back home as heroes. We got told to stay at home and play in the EFL Cup.

"But we are here and my team wants to win this competition. The view in Europe of the Club World Cup is different to the view in the rest of the world but we want to change that. 

"Liverpool fans want us to win - most of the other fans don't really care. But we saw what it means to Monterrey by how much they invested to win on Wednesday and it will be the same with Flamengo."

Saturday's clash with be Klopp's first against a Brazilian side in his 18-year coaching career and will also mark the first time he has faced Jorge Jesus.

Klopp has been impressed by Jesus' work since he took charge of Flamengo in June and is anticipating a difficult match at the Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar.

"This is the first time that I have faced a Brazilian team but this is also the first time Flamengo have played a team like Liverpool," he said.

"I know what we have to expect. Flamengo will be intense and organised. Jorge Jesus has changed their fortunes.

"He has brought players in to the defence, he has a settled line-up, a team where everybody knows what they have to do. He was a successful coach at Benfica and at Sporting.

"He's a character and is famous for being organised. He could go to a European club if he wanted but maybe Rio is such a nice place he wants to stay there."

Virgil van Dijk missed the victory over Monterrey through illness and Georginio Wijnaldum was sidelined with a muscle injury.

However, both players took part in training on Friday and Klopp will continue to monitor their fitness.

"Virgil was part of training today and Gini had a session," he said. "We will see how it looks at the end.

"We have no new concerns. We will use each hour for recovery and we will see who we can line up tomorrow [Saturday]."

Virgil van Dijk provided Liverpool with a potential boost ahead of their Club World Cup final against Flamengo by training on Friday.

The defender, who has played every minute of the Reds' Premier League campaign, felt ill the day before the semi-final against Monterrey and was absent as the Reds recorded a 2-1 victory.

With Joe Gomez the only other senior centre-back in the squad, Jordan Henderson partnered his fellow England international in the heart of defence.

Boss Jurgen Klopp said after the game he had "no clue" whether Van Dijk would be back for Saturday's final in Doha.

However, the Dutchman was out training with his Liverpool colleagues on Friday in the portion of the session open to the media.

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