Match Preview: Liverpool vs Monterrey (Club World Cup)
Liverpool kick off their campaign to win a first-ever Club World Cup against Mexican side Monterrey, who are the reigning CONCACAF champions.
Liverpool have earned their place in the competition by winning their 6th European Cup in Madrid, in June.
Having fallen twice before at the final hurdle, once in 1981 and most recently in 2005, the Reds are determined to make it third time lucky and finally add the title of world club champions to their illustrious history.
Manager Jurgen Klopp has his eyes on the prize and has taken the entire first-team to Qatar giving no priority to the Carabao cup.
Apart from the opportunity to win a much elusive trophy, it also gives Liverpool the chance to soak in the sun and treat the trip as a warm-weather training camp, in contrast to their rivals who will have to slug it out in the English winter.
This is the first time that Liverpool are facing Monterrey and should provide Klopp with a good challenge. This is Monterrey’s second appearance in the semifinals, having entered the competition thrice before.
The Mexican side defeated local team Al Sadd 3-2 to progress to the semifinals. In a pretty open game, Monterrey attacked their opponents with gusto but left themselves open at the back.
Such an approach will go badly against a team like Liverpool who thrives when given space. Liverpool play a fast, attacking brand of football that can overwhelm teams not used to playing at an intensity.
Fabinho, Nathaniel Clyne, Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren are out injured for Liverpool, while Klopp is unlikely to risk Georginio Wijnaldum. Curtis Jones and Neco Williams have also made the trip and may feature in this game from the bench.
Liverpool will have to keep an eye on Monterrey’s Argentinian striker Rogelio Funes Mori, twin brother of former Evertonian defender Ramiro Funes Mori.
Other players who have experience in Europe include Mexican defender Miguel Layun who has played for the likes of Porto and Sevilla. Interestingly, Spurs flop Victor Janssen, who scored against Liverpool in a league cup clash at Anfield in 2016, also plays for Monterrey.
Liverpool Predicted XI
Alisson, Trent-Alexander Arnold, Joe Gomez, Virjil van Dijk, Jordan Henderson, Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain, Naby Keita, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane
Monterrey Predicted XI
Marcelo Barovero, Stefan Medina,Cesar Montes, Nicolas Sanchez, Leonel Vangioni, Carlos Rodriguez, Jonathan Gonzalez Dorlan Pabon,Rodolfo Pizarro, Jesus Gallardo, Rogelio Funes Mori.
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Mohamed Salah vs Nicolas Sanchez
Salah seems to be hitting the right vein of form at the right moment and has scored 3 goals in his last two matches. Sanchez will have his hands full in trying to contain the Eqyptian who will be hard to cope with if he is on his game.
Rogelio Funes Mori vs Virgil van Dijk
Funes Mori has scored 9 goals in 18 appearances for Monterrey this season and was also on the scoresheet against Al-Sadd. Here, he will be up against the best defender in the world. He will have to put in his best performance to stand any chance against the imperious dutchman.