It’s finally December and excitement is brewing for Premier League table topping side Liverpool FC. They’ve got a packed schedule this months with games in the PL, the Carabao Cup and now, the FIFA World Club Cup. Thankfully, their away game against West Ham on December 21st has been rearranged (with the Club World Cup Final that same day). Their return to the Premier League action is on Boxing Day, December 26th when they’re scheduled to play away to table runners up Leicester City.
Here’s everything you need to know about Liverpool’s path to FIFA Club World Cup glory.
Who’s in the Club World Cup this year?
As always, the FIFA Club World Cup features the champions of South America, Asia, Africa, North America, Oceania and Europe as well as the Al Sadd — the champions of the Qatar Stars league, which represent the hosts. Confirmed qualifiers include Liverpool (England), Flamengo (Brazil), Esperance Sportive de Tunis (Tunisia), Monterrey (Mexico), Hienghene Sport (New Caledonia), Al Hilal (Saudi Arabia) and Al Sadd as the host team.
Here are the venues
The start of the FIFA Club World Cup campaign for Liverpool is on December 18 at the 40,000 capacity Education City Stadium in Doha for the semi final. Whether they win or loser, Liverpool will then go on to play the same venue in the third place play-off and final on December 21st.
This venue is a testing ground for Qatar. The 2019 and 2020 Club World Cup tournaments will determine its capacity to host the 2022 World Cup finals.
The first and second rounds will be hosted by the 15,000 capacity Jassim bin Hamad Stadium and the 40,000 capacity Khalifa International Stadium will host the other semi-final.
Everything else you need to know
As one of the seven clubs taking part in the Club World Cup in Qatar, Liverpool have the chance to be global champions. There’s the possibility they could face local side Al Sadd, coached by former Barcelona midfielder Xavi. They could also face Hienghene Sport of New Caledonia or the Mexican side Monterrey in the semi final. You can expect 888 Sport betting to be offering large odds on any team to stop Liverpool.
Should Liverpool fans get what they want and see their team progress to the final, they are very likely to face the CONMEBOL winners Flamengo. The Brazillian team beat River Plate in the final of the Copa Libertadores, after striker Gabriel Barbosa scored two goals before being sent off in a dramatic finish in the final few minutes of the game.
How are Liverpool handling the pressure?
It’s going to be a busy month for Liverpool in December, with games across several leagues
all the while trying to maintain their top spot in the Premier League table. A fixture nightmare has occurred as after reaching the quarterfinals of the Carabao Cup. Their tie with Aston Villa is due to be played while they are in Qatar, with the Club World Cup semi-final a day later on December 18. Manager Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that he’ll be fielding two different teams for both matches, and while acknowledging it’s not the ideal scenario it had the best interests of the competition and club at heart.
Liverpool Winger Sadio Mane (who played all but two games in Liverpool’s top-flight last season) told the press he was optimistic about the busy month ahead, citing that tiredness was just as much as a mental issue for the team as a physical one.
“If the team need us though and the coach needs us we will be here to play and help the team,” he said. “Winning games and winning trophies always motivates players all the time. “Hopefully we are going to win the World Club Cup and give a high energy for us to go again until the end of the season,” he added.
Every match of the 2019 Club World Cup will be broadcast be the BBC live. The FIFA Club World Cup kicks off on December 11 with a match of Al Sadd vs Hienghene Sport at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium.