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Roberto Firmino's Extra-Time Goal Hands Liverpool 2019 FIFA Club World Cup Title

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIDecember 21, 2019

DOHA, QATAR - DECEMBER 21: Roberto Firmino of Liverpool celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-0 during the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019 Final match between Liverpool FC and CR Flamengo at Khalifa International Stadium on December 21, 2019 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Liverpool beat Flamengo 1-0 on Saturday after extra time to lift the FIFA Club World Cup for the first time at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

The Reds made a strong start to the match and saw both Roberto Firmino and Naby Keita blaze good chances over the bar in the opening five minutes.

Flamengo came right back into the match and put the European champions under pressure without managing to trouble Alisson Becker in the Liverpool goal.

Firmino went close again at the start of the second half and hit the inside of the post, while Gabriel Barbosa forced Alisson into a diving save with a shot from inside the penalty area.

A goalless 90 minutes saw the game go into extra time and Liverpool clinch victory through Firmino. Sadio Mane found the Brazilian in the penalty area, and he showed great composure to slot home the winner.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp named a strong starting XI for Saturday's final, while Flamengo kept the same team that beat Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal in the semi-finals:

FIFA.com @FIFAcom

#ClubWC | LINE-UPS Big changes for @LFC see the likes of @trentaa98, @VirgilvDijk, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino enter the starting XI. @Flamengo stick with the line-up that booked their place in the final. https://t.co/CLRMDkZQry

Liverpool started strongly and dominated the opening exchanges. Firmino blazed a chance over the bar in the first minute, while Keita also fired wastefully over after being teed up by Mohamed Salah four minutes later.

Trent Alexander-Arnold was another player to try his luck in the early stages. The full-back drove forward and smacked a fierce shot across goal and just wide of Diego Alves' left-hand post.

James Pearce at The Athletic offered his thoughts on the Reds:

James Pearce @JamesPearceLFC

Such a contrast to the semi-final. Liverpool swarming all over Flamengo. Much better tempo to their play.

Flamengo grew into the game and started to dominate possession without creating any clear-cut goalscoring chances in the opening 45 minutes. 

Bruno Henrique looked their most likely source of inspiration and appeared to have the beating of Alexander-Arnold with his bursts down the left flank.

Football writer Rupert Fryer was impressed with Jorge Jesus' team:

Rupert Fryer @Rupert_Fryer

That’s a brilliant half for Flamengo. The dream very much alive, for now. Superb recovery after dodgy opening and they still have game-changing Diego up their sleeve.

Liverpool ought to have broken the deadlock at the start of the second half. Firmino showed great skill to beat his defender, but his shot hit the inside of the post, rolled across the goal line and then out for a goal kick.

The action then switched down the other end with Gabigol slamming a shot high over the crossbar and then forcing Alisson into a diving save to tip his effort around the post.

Liverpool lost Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to injury in the second half but looked the stronger team as full time loomed and Flamengo tired:

B/R Football @brfootball

Get well soon, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 🙏 https://t.co/AMuZB33pq1

Jordan Henderson went close to a dramatic late winner with a curling effort that was destined for the top corner until a diving Alves managed to tip it over the bar.

There was more drama in stoppage time when Liverpool were awarded a penalty after Rafinha brought down Mane on the edge of the box.

However, after a VAR check the referee reversed his decision, which attracted criticism:

Darren Fletcher @DFletcherSport

Surprised that was seen as a fair tackle 👀👀 Free kick on the edge of the box for me #LIVFLA

Simon Clancy @SiClancy

Shambolic. Might have been outside the box but no free kick is an absolute sham.

The winning goal eventually arrived in the first period of extra time. Mane held the ball up well and then picked out Firmino, who shifted the ball on to his right foot and slammed a shot past Alves:

Flamengo wasted a golden chance to snatch an equaliser in the last minute. Substitute Vitinho crossed for Lincoln in the area to blaze a shot over the bar from 10 yards.

     

What's Next?

Liverpool are back in Premier League action on Boxing Day against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.