21 December 2019 12:33
Jürgen Klopp believes Flamengo carry the hopes of an entire continent in Saturday's Club World Cup final but will not surpass Liverpool's desire to create history by winning the competition for the first time. The Liverpool manager compared the European champions' mission in Qatar to the 1969 moon landing as they attempt to make the giant leap that eluded Bob Paisley's team in 1981, Joe Fagan's in 1984 and Rafael Benítez's in 2005. Klopp says his respect has increased for the Club World Cup during his time in the Gulf state although, with 15,000 fans expected to travel from Brazil to support the Copa Libertadores winners, he admits South American passion for the competition remains unrivalled. Liverpool addicted to winning trophies, says Lallana before Club World Cup final Read more Brazilian clubs have won the title 10 times in its various guises compared with two English triumphs, both by Manchester United. Flamengo's 3-0 victory over Liverpool in the Intercontinental Cup 38 years ago has been celebrated in song and on banners by their supporters in Doha.
But Klopp insists Liverpool's ambition to add the Club World Cup to Anfield's roll of honour is as strong as the backing for the Brazilian champions. Klopp, who has Virgil van Dijk available, said: "I don't know how you approach something that has never been done before – it is like landing on the moon. "We are playing against a side from a country and continent where this competition means everything to everyone and, in England, we have to explain why we come here. That's how Europe looks at the world, that we are the centre of attention. "Flamengo got sent here from their country with a clear order: win it and come back as heroes.
We got told: stay at home and play the Carabao Cup. That's a massive difference, and we cannot change that, but we are here and my team wants to win the competition. "So we saw that, adapted to it, won our semi-final in a very difficult situation and now we try to do the same against a very good side that finished their season on a super high by turning everything around from eight points behind to 16 points in front while winning the Copa Libertadores too." Facebook Twitter Pinterest Virgil van Dijk leaps highest in Liverpool training and is available again after illness. Van Dijk completed his first full training session on Friday since arriving in Qatar, having missed the semi-final defeat of Monterrey through illness. Although the competition may be regarded differently in Europe and South America, Klopp insists that will not be the case between the teams. "It means more to them [fans in South America] but to the players? "Did it mean more to Tottenham in the Champions League final? More to Chelsea [in the Super Cup final]? When our boys play football they show every time they want to win. Is it an advantage the whole country or continent wants Flamengo to win it more? Mexico wanted to win it more than people in England and we beat their team, so we will see. We spoke about it a few months ago and asked how did they want to play it? They are footballers, they are sportsmen and they want to win everything they can. "It is how it sounds: the team world cup winner. You don't often get the chance to do so and for most of them, with the countries they play for, they never have a chance to win a World Cup so this is the only chance. I don't feel pressure but I feel a really big opportunity and I want to do it." Klopp will become the first German coach to win the Club World Cup in its current form should Liverpool emerge victorious. The Liverpool manager admitted he does not know what the trophy looks like and, along with most Europeans, paid little attention to the competition in his youth. "It is a dream come true," Alisson said. "When I was 14 my former club Internacional became Club World Cup champions in 2006 and I watched it as a supporter. Now I am here, with this big opportunity to win it for the first time with Liverpool against a big club. "It is big for Brazilians but I think it is bigger for who is playing in the game. If you are on the outside of this competition you don't give it value. It is important to make history and put our names in the club as the first time ever that Liverpool won it." For Jorge Jesus's team, motivation comes not only from the significance of the Club World Cup but the memory of the 10 academy players who died in a fire at Flamengo's youth team training centre in February. The winger Éverton Ribeiro said: "The message to the families is may God be with them and we will dedicate this title to the players and their spirits. We hope winning the title will bring comfort to the families of the deceased." Liverpool meet Flamengo in the FIFA Club World Cup final on Saturday, with kick-off at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha scheduled for 5.30pm GMT. For Reds supporters outside of the UK, global TV listings for the game can be found here.