Firmino fires Liverpool to Club World Cup glory

Liverpool became world champions for the first time as Roberto Firmino made amends for two earlier misses with the winner against Flamengo.

Roberto Firmino struck in extra time to claim a first Club World Cup title for European champions Liverpool as they beat Flamengo 1-0 in Doha on Saturday.A tightly contested final should have been settled by Firmino long before the 99th minute, but the usually reliable forward twice missed the target when well placed.

Liverpool also had a last-gasp penalty award struck off in normal time following a VAR review, giving Flamengo – victors over the Reds in the 1981 Intercontinental Cup final – a lifeline.

However, the Premier League leaders dominated the additional period, and Firmino finally found the net to tee up yet more celebrations on Merseyside.

Liverpool scored inside two minutes of June’s Champions League final, and Firmino should have put them in front after just 40 seconds on Saturday, lifting his finish over the crossbar after breaching the Flamengo back-line.

Naby Keita was similarly wasteful when Jordan Henderson freed Mohamed Salah to tee up the midfielder, before Trent Alexander-Arnold drilled wide in an extremely positive start for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

After toiling for the remainder of the first half, Firmino again should have netted at the start of the second, brilliantly lifting the ball over Rodrigo Caio but slamming left-footed into the left-hand post.

Salah stabbed wide as another Liverpool flurry continued, yet Gabriel Barbosa then had two sights of goal in quick succession and tested compatriot Alisson with the second.

While Liverpool were dealt a blow as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hobbled off after landing awkwardly, Henderson almost stole victory with an 86th-minute curling try that was touched over by Diego Alves.

There was still room for late drama before extra time, as referee Abdulrahman Al Jassim initially awarded a stoppage-time spot-kick against Rafinha for a foul on Sadio Mane, only to then assess the incident on the pitchside monitor and reverse his decision.

It was a reprieve that lasted only nine minutes into extra time, when Henderson set clear Mane, who squared for the composed Firmino to sit down goalkeeper Alves and rifle into the net.

Salah was denied a swift second by Alves, and substitute Lincoln should have got Flamengo back on level terms in the 119th minute, instead blazing over in front of goal to ensure Klopp’s side the title.

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