Former Liverpool striker Florent Sinama-Pongolle believes the FIFA Club World Cup will still “mean a lot” to this Reds squad despite its timing and location.
Sinama-Pongolle will always be remembered for playing his part in Liverpool’s comeback victory over Olympiakos at Anfield in December 2004. That win took Rafa Benitez’s side out of the group stages and on their way to glory in Istanbul.
A year after that night at Anfield, Sinama-Pongolle travelled with the squad to Japan for the 2005 Club World Cup tournament. Liverpool beat Deportiva Saprissa in the semi-final but then lost 1-0 to Brazilian club Sao Paolo in the final.
Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com this week, Sinama-Pongolle admitted that he still regrets missing out on the Club World Cup trophy that year.
“You just try to understand that you want to win something more. Sometimes it’s not the best moment because you are right in the middle of the season.
“But as a player, as a team, it’s still bringing one more new experience for finishing the season at your best. It means a lot to a player. Obviously it means a lot more when you win it!
“But we knew Sao Paulo had a huge team with a big charismatic goalkeeper [Rogerio Ceni] and Cicinho, who would sign for Real Madrid. We really wanted to get it.”
The former striker – who is still only 35! – believes Jurgen Klopp’s current crop of players have what it takes to bring the trophy back to Merseyside this time, however.
“This current Liverpool squad, they’re more complete – good team, good squad, quality players.
“You can see their experience, even though many of them are quite young. They’re still playing with such a [level] head. They’re acting like players who have so many years of experience.
“Van Dijk, for example, is always like this, Mane’s effort and the way he is dealing with every ball – you never feel he is at the limit physically.”
Liverpool travel to Qatar to take part in the FIFA Club World Cup smack-bang in the middle of what was an already-hectic December schedule.
With The Reds now eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table, it feels that the most important thing Klopp can bring back from Qatar in December is a fully-fit squad.
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