We'll get Club World Cup final lowdown from Liverpool's Brazilians, says Adam Lallana
Reds head for Flamengo showdown after showing huge character to beat Monterrey
Adam Lallana said Liverpool’s last-ditch victory against Monterrey was another example of the team’s remarkable resolve, as they look now to their Brazilians for inside information on how to win the Fifa Club World Cup.
The European champions came through a nervy semi-final against Mexican side Monterrey in Doha on Wednesday night, requiring an injury-time winner from substitute Roberto Firmino to triumph 2-1. The forward had been on the pitch for only six minutes.
A slightly unfamiliar Liverpool side had initially taken the lead via Naby Keita’s early strike, but conceded two minutes later having failed to clear a Monterrey free-kick. From there, goalkeeper Alisson repelled Antonio Mohamed's men before the Concacaf champions tired in the closing stages.
Chasing a first Club World Cup crown, Liverpool face Brazil giants Flamengo in the final on Saturday after the Copa Libertadores winners saw off Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal on Tuesday.
Lallana will be sure to expect another significant show of personality from his team when the two clubs face off at the Khalifa International Stadium.
“That’s no coincidence, the amount of late goals we’ve got this season,” the midfielder said. “That’s pure mentality and character.
“Difficult game tonight, different opposition at times, but the lads dug deep and, with the changes we made, we had impact. And Bobby was tremendous when he came on and nicked the goal for us.”
Asked about the threat posed by Flamengo, Lallana said Liverpool could lean on their own Brazilian contingent to help get the victory.
“We watched them the other night,” he said. “I’m sure Bobby and Alisson can give us some information. But we’ll recover now. Obviously it was nice that we got the goal before extra-time, with a quick turnaround.”
No doubt, Liverpool will hope to have Virgil van Dijk back for the final. The Dutch defender was struck down by illness and therefore had to sit out the match with Monterrey, meaning Jordan Henderson filled in at centre-back.
Nominally a central midfielder, the captain performed admirably to impress his teammates.
"I thought Jordan Henderson was a different class," left-back Andy Robertson said. "First game he’s ever played there probably in his professional career and he stepped in - we tried to help him as much as he can and I hope he felt that we did that.
“I think Virgil’s tucked up in bed, so hopefully he’s had a good night’s rest and come Saturday hopefully he’ll be fine. Just delighted to be in the final now.”
On Saturday’s opponents, Robertson added: “We watched them in their semi-final last night: first half, they struggled against a good team, but second half they were very dominant and amazing, played a great second half.
“We know they’ve got fantastic players; we know it’s going to be a tough game. We probably need to play better than tonight. But we’ve got a couple of days to prepare for that and hopefully we can do it.”
Updated: December 19, 2019 12:34 PM