Venue – Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar
Referee – Roberto Tobar (Chile)
Date & Time – Wednesday, December 18th @ 17:30 UK time
Current Odds – Monterrey 11/1, Draw 13/2, Liverpool 2/11
Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp have some work to do over the next few days in Qatar. Could this Reds squad – so accustomed to breaking one club record after another in recent years – make history by winning a first-ever Club World Cup trophy?
Mexican club Monterrey have gone 14 games unbeaten in all competitions, winning 11 and drawing three in that time. They overcame Al-Sadd 3-2 in the previous round, setting up a mouth-watering tie against the European champions Liverpool.
Liverpool’s youngsters deputised in place of the more seasoned professionals at Villa Park on Tuesday night in the Carabao Cup. With that squad made up of Liverpool’s U23s, it can’t be considered when reflecting on the actual Liverpool first-team’s current form.
Before heading for Qatar, Liverpool managed to beat Watford 2-0 at Anfield, going 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League.
Now, attention turns to Qatar and the only title that has eluded Liverpool throughout the club’s illustrious history.
Monterrey Team News
Monterrey generally line out in a 4-2-3-1 shape so it should be the same again on Wednesday.
One name you might recognise as part of the Monterrey squad is that of former Spurs striker Vincent Janssen. The Dutch forward, still only 25, moved to Monterrey from Spurs during the summer.
Rogelio Funes Mori is the twin brother of Ramiro Funes Mori who Liverpool fans may remember from his time at Everton. He was deservedly sent off after a very poor challenge on Divock Origi in The Toffees 4-0 defeat at Anfield in 2016. Rogelio prefers the action at the other end of the pitch and has 11 goals in 19 games so far this season for Monterrey, making him the team’s top scorer.
Liverpool Team News
Gini Wijnaldum will miss the Monterrey fixture, as confirmed by Jurgen Klopp on Tuesday. However, he disclosed positive news regarding Virgil van Dijk, insisting Liverpool’s number 4 is “fine” and ready to play.
I think Klopp will start Neco Williams at right-back, resting Trent Alexander-Arnold. Joe Gomez will partner Van Dijk in central defence, with Andrew Robertson on the left.
Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Naby Keita could be the midfield trio with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana coming on in the second half.
Up front, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané may be on the bench. This would give Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi the chance to impress from the start, either side of Roberto Firmino.
Monterrey XI (4-2-3-1) – Barovero; Medina, Montes, Sanchez, Vangioni; Gonzalez, Rodriguez; Pabon, Pizarro, Gallardo; Funes Mori
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Williams, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Milner, Keita; Shaqiri, Firmino, Origi
When they last met
Monterrey and Liverpool have never previously met in a competitive fixture.
MONTERREY 0 – 2 LIVERPOOL
It’s tough to forecast how such an unpredictable fixture could pan out in Doha. Based on the perceived standards of the leagues in question, it has to be presumed that Liverpool will be the stronger outfit. I think The Reds will run out 2-0 winners.