Defending UEFA Champions League winners Liverpool advanced to their second FIFA Club World Cup final after beating Mexican side Monterrey, 2-1, in a tight contest on Wednesday night in Doha.
Midfielder Naby Keita scored the first goal for the Reds in the 12th minute, courtesy of an assist from Egyptian star Mohamed Salah.
Their lead lasted only two minutes as Argentine striker Rogelio Funes scored an equaliser for the Mexican club. The match was witnessed by a full-house Khalifa International Stadium with 45,416 spectators on the stands.
A stoppage-time goal by Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino sealed the victory for the Premier League leaders.
After the match, Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana spoke to the press. He said, "It [the match] was very aggressive and physical and we're going to have to recover quickly and another trophy is up for grabs on the weekend. It's massive, we're European champions and aim to be Club World Cup champions. Not many people can say that, so we're going to give it our all for that."
Liverpool last reached the Club World Cup final in 2005. They will now attempt to lift their maiden World Championship trophy when they meet Brazil's Flamengo on Saturday. The team from Rio de Janeiro booked their final spot after beating Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal 3-1 in the other semifinal, last Tuesday.
27-year-old Salah was named the Man of the Match for his brilliant display on the field last night. Club supporters from the UK and Mexico, as well as Doha, attended the highly anticipated match. Yesterday was also Qatar's National Day.
This is the first time that Qatar is hosting the annual seven-team global club tournament and it seems to be in preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Doha will organise next year's Club World Club as well.
One of the FIFA spokespersons recently commented that this global club tournament will offer football fans the opportunity to discover in advance, what the 2022 FIFA World Cup host has to offer.
This year marks the fourth club World Cup appearance for Monterrey. Their previous best performance was a third-place finish. This year too, they will aim to equal their previous record, as they take Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal on Saturday.
The final of the ongoing tournament will also be played at the Khalifa International Stadium, which is among the two completed venues finalised for the 2022 World Cup.