Firmino the hero, Alisson 8/10 as Liverpool reach Club World Cup final
Liverpool are through to the final of the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup following a dramatic 2-1 win over Monterrey in Doha, Qatar.
Naby Keita gave the Reds an early lead in the Middle East only for the Mexican side to equalise just three minutes later through Rogelio Funes Mori. Despite Monterrey looking like the better team for large periods of the game, the quality of the European champions proved crucial as Roberto Firmino scored the winner in the first minute of injury time to set up a highly-anticipated date with Flamengo on Saturday.
Whenever Liverpool were on the ball they looked fairly composed and kept possession well throughout the pitch. They started to come forward with more intent in the second half and were able to string some nice passes together, and while things were touch and go on both sides of the ball, they certainly adapted to their surroundings and were able to mix up their passages of play.
There were lazy gaps from a defensive standpoint and at times, it felt like they were trying to walk the ball into the net -- not showing Monterrey enough respect in the process. The humidity clearly left them a step or two behind their usual pace which is to be expected, but they were particularly weak down the flanks which tends to be one of their stronger areas.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Given the circumstances it was understandable to see Jurgen Klopp take a bit of a risk with his starting XI. You could certainly argue that the team looked lethargic at points and that could have come back on the manager, but he made the right changes to ultimately win them the game. He looked a bit more tempered than usual on the touchline, though, earning himself a yellow card in the second half, alongside his counterpart Antonio Mohamed.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 8 -- Produced a man-of-the-match worthy performance with a string of strong saves that kept Monterrey at bay.
DF James Milner, 6 -- Didn't look particularly comfortable at full-back as you'd expect and would've been much more use in the middle of the park. Produced a silly foul that led to the goal.
DF Joe Gomez, 6 -- Always does the simple stuff well and makes solid blocks when called upon, but showed his need for improvement with a silly yellow card.
DF Jordan Henderson, 6 -- Looked questionable in terms of his positioning, but given that centre-back isn't the Englishman's natural position, that makes sense.
DF Andrew Robertson, 5 -- Really struggled to get going and wasn't able to use his pace to exploit Monterrey as he's done to so many clubs over the past few seasons.
MF Adam Lallana, 5 -- Fans will proceed to question his presence in the squad once again after a performance that highlighted his weakness on the ball and distinct lack of urgency.
MF Naby Keita, 7 -- Proved his ability to go from hero to zero once more with a nice finish for the first goal, but a poor showing for the equaliser. Needs someone like Fabinho or Henderson alongside him for stability.
MF Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 6 -- Surges forward with the ball well enough and has the occasional moment of magic, but needs to stop playing so deep.
FW Xherdan Shaqiri, 6 -- Gave more for the team than Origi but that wasn't saying much on an evening where he struggled to find his feet.
FW Mohamed Salah, 8 -- Was at the heart of Liverpool's opener with a delightful assist and showcased a real appetite for making things happen throughout the course of the game.
FW Divock Origi, 5 -- Holds the ball up well every so often but for the most part is much more effective as an impact sub than as a starter.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, N/R -- Didn't really make any noticeable impact -- right up until his brilliant through ball to Firmino for the winner.
FW Sadio Mane, 6 -- Created an array of opportunities after being introduced and continues to prove why he's such a valuable asset for this Liverpool side.
FW Roberto Firmino, N/R -- Looked active upon arrival and provided a certain spark to the Reds' attack late in the game. Scored the winner in injury time.