Liverpool win their first FIFA Club World Cup.
A Brazilian scores the decisive goal against a famous Brazilian team.
Jurgen Klopp’s team need extra time to beat Flamengo before 45,000 fans in Qatar.
In the end it was a lot harder than many expected but Liverpool showed their continued determination and resilience to secure another major triumph against a committed Flamengo side.
The significance of the tournament to the Rubro Negra was highlighted by the large number of their fans that made the journey to Doha, not only from Brazil but also from Australia, the US and many other locations.
Whereas the Merseysiders had the backing of a much smaller group from the UK but did have large numbers of local supporters who were especially there to see Egyptian Mo Salah perform for the Reds.
After resting some stars for the semi-final Jurgen Klopp selected his best available team including the peerless van Dijk and the powerful front trio of Salah, Mane and Roberto Firmino.
While Portuguese coach Jorge Jesus would look to Gabriel Barbosa, Bruno Henrique and Giorgian de Arrascaeta to provide the threats.
The game began with Liverpool eluding the high press of the Brazilians and producing some dangerous long passes that gave the forward runners some chances.
Which would generally go high or wide of Diego Alves’ goal.
Flamengo absorbed that and threatened themselves through the dangerous Bruno Henrique down the left.
The first half stats told an interesting story with the Brazilians having more of the ball and more shots.
But neither side had an effort on target.
Indeed it took Liverpool some time before Henderson finally tested the opposition goalie.
Prior to that Salah had been somewhat wayward much to the dismay of the crowd.
While Barbosa saw a shot well saved by Alisson.
And Liverpool’s Brazilian goalie would go on to perform solidly throughout.
As the match entered the final minutes it looked like the outcome would be decided when the Qatari referee awarded a penalty after Mane seemed to be brought down.
But inevitably VAR intervened and the referee, who didn’t have the best of games, rescinded the decision and gave a free kick to Flamengo.
When to most onlookers it should have been a kick to Liverpool placed just outside the area.
So a tiring Flamengo would survive into extra time.
With cramp affecting a number of their team they concentrated mainly on wasting time.
But on 99 minutes a long pass reached Mane and the Senegalese had the presence to turn and find Firmino who calmly delivered the winner.
It was clearly a sweet moment for the Brazilian who also netted the decider in the semi-final defeat of Monterrey.
Later Salah would go close again and Flamengo did have some late pressure as their fans kept up their constant support.
But ultimately it was a deserved, but hard-fought victory for Klopp’s team.
Their class and ability to deliver shone through again.
The intelligent and at times humorous German had masterminded another unique triumph for the men from Anfield in the middle of undoubtedly historic season for Liverpool FC.7
More space would be needed at the champions wall at Anfield.
And as for the facilities in Qatar they look well on track for delivering a timely and air-cooled World Cup in three years time.
Report & analysis - John Bethell