|Club World Cup final: Flamengo v Liverpool|
|Venue: Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar Date: Saturday 21 December Kick-off: 17:30 GMT|
|Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app.|
With nine games to pack in during a busy December, the last thing Liverpool need is a trip to Qatar in the middle of it all, right?
Wrong. The Club World Cup may appear to be an unnecessary inconvenience for the Reds but there are benefits that could make it an important diversion.
A last-minute Roberto Firmino goal secured a 2-1 win against Monterrey in the semi-final, meaning they face Brazilian side Flamengo on Saturday, 21 December (17:30 GMT).
The game will be live on BBC One, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app, with the programme starting at 17.15 GMT and we at BBC Sport have put together five reasons why it is important.
- What should Liverpool expect from Monterrey?
- Wijnaldum out of Club World Cup semi-final
- Quiz: Can you name Liverpool’s last Club World Cup final XI?
A step on the path to history?
No English men’s professional team have ever won more than four trophies in a season. Liverpool could yet finish the campaign with five.
At the start of the season, they were in contention for seven – but the first one got away in August as they lost to Manchester City on penalties in the Community Shield before the youngest Liverpool starting XI in history lost 5-0 to Aston Villa in the EFL Cup quarter-finals.
So far, they have collected one trophy this season, beating Chelsea on penalties to win the Uefa Super Cup, but that could become two if they win the Club World Cup this week.
Meanwhile, they are 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League and still have the Champions League and the FA Cup to go for.
Klopp means business
Don’t try to tell Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp that the Club World Cup is an inconvenience. Not now he is getting a taste for success at Anfield.
“We don’t take it for granted, not at all, but when we go, we want to win it,” Klopp said in November. “The only reason for us to go there is for the opportunity to win it, and that’s what we’ll try.”
Until this year, Klopp had a pretty horrible record in finals. After winning the German Cup in 2012 with Borussia Dortmund, he lost his next six major finals as a manager, culminating in Liverpool’s 3-1 Champions League defeat by Real Madrid in May 2018.
Beating Tottenham in Madrid on 1 June this year to win the Champions League put an end to that run. Now he wants to keep adding the silverware.
A World Cup dress rehearsal for the players
The Club World Cup is taking place in Qatar. The 2022 World Cup is taking place in Qatar. See where we are going with this?
Plenty of the Liverpool squad are likely to return to Doha in three years with their national teams. The Club World Cup will give them the chance to get a feel for the conditions first hand – and at the right time of year.
Most of the 2022 World Cup will take place in December. Temperatures won’t be as high as the 41C they can reach in the sweltering summer months, but will still reach a pretty toasty 30C. Players will get to see how their bodies deal with that sort of heat over 90 minutes.
Also, the Club World Cup final is taking place at Doha’s Khalifa International Stadium, which is one of the venues for the World Cup.
All in all it should be a decent scouting expedition.
Money, money, money
Winning the Champions League not only bagged Liverpool plenty of prestige, it also offered the chance to earn an extra £8m.
Granted, that’s a drop in the ocean in today’s world of football finances, but in terms of the club’s previous transfer spending, think of it as one Andy Robertson or two Joe Gomezes.
Where does the £8m figure come from? Well, Liverpool’s Champions League win secured their ticket to the Uefa Super Cup final and the Club World Cup. Prize money for winning each is £4m. Klopp’s side have won one, now they chase the other.
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Not bad for three games’ work.
A first win and revenge for 1981
Finally, this is a trophy that Liverpool have never won. They played in the 2005 final but lost 1-0 to Sao Paulo.
There is also the chance for revenge.
The game with Flamengo is a rematch of the 1981 Intercontinental Cup final, the precursor to the Club World Cup.
Back then, Liverpool were beaten 3-0 in Tokyo by a Zico-inspired side.
In the 38 years since, Liverpool have won six English top-flight titles and been champions of Europe three times. But the honour of being world champions has so far eluded them.
Maybe this is their year?
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