A place in the Club World Cup final will be on the line when Liverpool take on Monterrey at the Khalifa International Stadium on Wednesday.
The FIFA Club World Cup is halfway through its penultimate stage, with Flamengo booking their place in this week’s final on Tuesday. The other semi-final will be played out on Wednesday, when European champions Liverpool lock horns with CONCACAF Champions League holders Monterrey at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Monterrey booked their place in the Club World Cup after winning the CONCACAF Champions League for the fourth time in May. Making their fourth appearance at the Club World Cup, the Rayados entered the competition in the quarter-finals, where they beat hosts Al Sadd 3-2.
Liverpool, on the other hand, are making only their second appearance at the Club World Cup after lifting the UEFA Champions League for the sixth time earlier this year. The Reds’ first-team will be in action for the second time in less than 24 hours when they take the field in Doha, following Tuesday’s Carabao Cup clash with Aston Villa.
Monterrey and Liverpool will be clashing for the first time on Tuesday and ahead of their maiden meeting, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Antonio Mohamed does not have any fresh injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s meeting with Liverpool. Long-term absentee Aviles Hurtado, thus, remains the only player unavailable for Monterrey due to an Achilles injury.
Mohamed is unlikely to tinker much with a winning combination when Monterrey take the field against Liverpool, lining his side up in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Veteran goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero should start between the sticks for the Mexican outfit, with Luis Cardenas being his deputy. Nicolas Sanchez and young Cesar Montes will partner up at the heart of the Monterrey defence, with Stedan Medina and Leonel Vangioni being the full-back pairing.
Jonathan Gonzalez will look to keep things tight in front of the defensive line, with Carlo Rodriguez likely to accompany him in the midfield double pivot. Rodriguez will be tasked with transitioning smoothly from defence to attack. The creative onus will be on Rodolfo Pizarro, who will be given the license to roam freely in the final third.
The lack of a natural left winger means Jesus Gallardo will start in an advanced role on the left flank, with Dorlan Pabon being deployed on the opposite wing. Rogelio Funes Mori, the twin brother of former Everton defender Ramiro Funes Mori, will lead the line for Monterrey, pipping Vincent Janssen to the central striker’s berth.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Barovero; Medina, Montes, Sanchez, Vangioni; Rodriguez, Gonzalez; Pabon, Pizarro, Gallardo; Funes Mori
Quite understandably, Liverpool are set to field a completely different side to the one that took the field against Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup, with all the regulars travelling to Qatar for the Club World Cup. Jurgen Klopp, though, is set to be without Georginio Wijnaldum for his side’s clash with Monterrey.
The Dutch midfielder is struggling to be fit after hobbling off midway through Liverpool’s game against Watford this past weekend and will not be involved. Klopp, meanwhile, is also likely to make some rotations, as he looks to continue keeping his squad fresh amid mounting injury concerns.
Andrew Robertson should return on the left side of the Liverpool defence, with the rest of the backline remaining unchanged. Joe Gomez was impressive last time out and in the continued absence of Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip, the Englishman is a certain starter as Virgil van Dijk’s central defensive partner. Trent Alexander-Arnold picks himself as Liverpool’s right-back.
Up ahead in midfield, James Milner could start as the holding midfielder, with Jordan Henderson being given a bit of a breather. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita are likely to provide Milner company in the middle of the park.
The rotation policy should see Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino dropping to the bench, with Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri returning to the starting lineup. Sadio Mane might, thus, be the only regular keeping his place from the game against Watford when Liverpool meet Monterrey.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Keita, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Shaqiri, Origi, Mane
- Wednesday’s FIFA Club World Cup semi-final will be the first meeting between Monterrey and Liverpool.
- CONCACAF champions for the fourth time earlier this year, Monterrey have not been beaten in any competition since October – a run of 13 matches which includes 10 victories.
- Liverpool have played two games in the Club World Cup, beating Deportivo Saprissa 3-0 at the same stage in 2005, before losing 1-0 to Sao Paulo in the final.
- Liverpool have kept 3 clean sheets in their last four games, the same number of shut outs that they managed in the previous 19 games.
- Rogelio Funes Mori is the form player for Monterrey, having scored seven goals in his last five games across all competitions.
Player to Watch
If there is one player who defines clutch at Liverpool, it is Divock Origi. Having made it a habit to score at important junctures in crucial fixtures, the Belgian will now have his sights set on conquering the Club World Cup.
With a free scoring Monterrey side likely to give Liverpool a run for their money, Origi and his partners on the other end will need to be at their clinical best. Expect the in-form striker to deliver the goods once again.
Monterrey 1-3 Liverpool
Monterrey have been on a stunning run of form and are in no way a side to be taken lightly. With Liverpool’s defence already blighted by injuries, the fact that Virgil van Dijk might not be a hundred percent could give Monterrey a glimmer of hope on Wednesday.
Having said that, Antonio Mohamed’s team are porous at the back themselves, meaning the Reds will could well make it a tough evening for the CONCACAF Champions League holders. Expect a keenly contested affair to begin with before Liverpool grab the game by the scruff of its neck. The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-1 win for Jurgen Klopp & co.