2019 fifa club world cup

Liverpool favourites in Club World Cup final, but Flamengo want it more 

Doha, Qatar: "My father always said, 'Whatever happens in the future, whatever people will tell you in the future, Pele is the best player in the world'," said Jurgen Klopp right at the start of the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019 final post-match press conference at Khalifa International Stadium on Friday.

Brazil have produced plenty of other football magicians, including Ronaldinho and Ronaldo, and continue to do so, but when Flamengo play Liverpool in the final on Saturday, Klopp's men will be the favourites, at least on paper.

Mohamed Salah is flying, so is Sadio Mane, while Roberto Firminho has shown time and again he is as blessed as any of the current lot when it comes to the Brazilian wizardry.

Though Liverpool have quality players across the field, it's the way they play as a team, with the wingbacks joining the attack at the sniff of an opportunity and the forwards tracking back their markers without any hesitation, that makes them tough and at times unplayable opponents.

Klopp however, was happy to play down their favourites tag.

"Do we have an advantage? I don't know. Look, what we try every day, we try to prepare solutions for the problems we have. Sometimes we know about the problems beforehand and find a solution, sometimes we face problems all of a sudden and have to find solutions. That is our job," said Klopp, who, at the moment is arguably the best in the business.

"We don't see us as a team who cannot lose games or stuff like this, we see ourselves as a team who has to work their socks off to have a chance to win the game. That is what we try all the time. I don't see a real psychological advantage, to be honest, I don't think about it.

"Flamengo played a really exceptional season. They are in a good moment as well, so we have to see who can use the momentum better or more tomorrow night. No advantage before the game but we are ready to work for advantages in the game."

But Klopp knows too well that when it comes to Club World Cup, the priorities are different in Europe and the rest of the world.

"The situation is different. Flamengo got sent here with a clear order to win it and to come back as heroes, and we got told to stay at home and play the Carabao Cup," Klopp said.

"The view in Europe is completely different to the view in the rest of the world, but that view has changed for me since I was here.

"For us it is really special now. We are here so we want to give it a proper try. Yes we feel the tension in this situation but we feel it's a massive opportunity," he said.

The European champions had to play with Jordan Henderson as a central defender in the semifinal after Dutch superstar Virgil van Dijk failed to recover completely from illness and the defensive rick is still not certain for the final.

"Virg was part of training today, Gini had a session today. We will see how it will look at the end. We have no new injury concerns.

"How you can imagine, it was Wednesday night when we played and now it's Friday, so we use each hour for recovery and all that stuff. That's what we did and we will see who we can line up tomorrow," said Klopp.

Monterrey took advantage of Van Dijk's absence and Copa Libertadores champions Flamengo are more than capable of doing so with the Jorge Jesus' side featuring dazzling talents such as Bruno Henrique and Gabriel Barbosa.

"It is a really good team," said Klopp. "Gabigol (Brabosa) probably will play up front, Henrique is a strong player, and if Diego is coming on, very experienced and I know him from the Bundesliga like a few other players. It's not about one player but the impression was really, really positive and that's how it is. We show our respect for our opponents usually with the attitude on the pitch, that's what we try this time again."   

"You only can be in this final if you have a really strong team and obviously Flamengo has that and we are not too bad as well, so nothing is decided before the game. Good, that's how football should be. It means we both have the same chances, it's about who has better solutions for the different moments, not who has better players or whatever."

Klopp's opposite number Jesus too was confident about his team's chances.

“My priority is to think that if Flamengo wins I will be world champion. Me and the whole Flemish nation. Then, of course, my nationality. I am Portuguese and I know that the Portuguese people have been following Flamengo with passion. This is a pride for me," said Jesus.

"We are coming off a great season and we are two similar teams in terms of how we have recovered our prestige internationally," said the veteran coach.

The final starts at 8.30 pm.

Meanwhile, in the third-place play-off, Al Hillal will take on Monterrey with the match starting at 5.30.

Related Articles

Back to top button