English Premiership

Club World Cup matters for Klopp as Liverpool face Flamengo

2019-12-20 17:32
Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp (Getty Images)

Doha - Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has responded to suggestions the Club World Cup doesn't matter by insisting Saturday's final against Flamengo represents a "massive opportunity" for the Anfield club.

Klopp's team have taken time out from their Premier League title push to come to Qatar for a competition that is viewed differently in Europe to the rest of the world.

While Flamengo fans have travelled to Doha in large numbers to back their team's bid to become the first South American winners since 2012, few Liverpool supporters would rather see their side lift the Club World Cup than win a first English title in 30 years, or retain the Champions League.

"It is not an advantage or a disadvantage, but 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 at Friday's pre-final press conference at the Khalifa International Stadium.

His comments came after Liverpool sent out a team of academy players for their League Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa on Tuesday, losing 5-0, while their senior squad travelled to Doha for Wednesday's 2-1 semi-final win over Monterrey of Mexico.

"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."

While for Flamengo the game comes at the end of a successful season in which they won the Brazilian title and the Copa Libertadores, Liverpool are not even halfway through their Premier League campaign.

After Saturday's final they will return home to prepare for next Thursday's trip to second-placed Leicester City, the first of three league games in eight days.

"If Flamengo goes back and they win they will have a proper party, and we play Leicester City. For us it's different but who cares, that's how it is. It's the most important in the moment because we are here," Klopp added.

Liverpool may have won the European Cup for the sixth time in June, but they have never won this competition, losing the final to Sao Paulo in 2005. They also lost 3-0 to Zico's Flamengo in the old Intercontinental Cup in 1981. 

"We are making this big for ourselves because this is important, a chance to put our names in the history of the club," said Liverpool's Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson, who watched as a 14-year-old fan when his team, Internacional, beat Barcelona to win the trophy in 2006.

Klopp is hopeful Virgil van Dijk will be able to play after illness kept the Dutchman out of the Monterrey game, meaning Jordan Henderson partnered Joe Gomez in central defence.

He was also full of praise for their Portuguese coach, Jorge Jesus, who has had a remarkable impact in his six months in charge.

"He has obviously done an incredible job since he has been there. I think if there were an election at the moment he could become president of Brazil, even if he's from Portugal," the German joked.

"The work he's doing in Brazil, and that he did before in Europe, gives him the opportunity to go to a European club again if he wants, but maybe Rio is such a nice city that he wants to stay."

Under Jesus, Flamengo - Brazil's best supported club - have won a first Brazilian title in a decade and the Copa Libertadores was their first since 1981.

"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 65-year-old, although he indicated that the comparisons between the clubs should stop there.

"When a European team gets to the final of the Club World Cup, they have the best players in the world."

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Fixtures
Wednesday, 22 January 2020
Leicester City v West Ham United, King Power Stadium 21:30
Tottenham Hotspur v Norwich City, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 21:30
Manchester United v Burnley, Old Trafford 22:15
Thursday, 23 January 2020
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Liverpool, Molineux Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 29 January 2020
West Ham United v Liverpool, London Stadium 21:45
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

And the 2019/20 English Premiership champions will be ... ?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.