Liverpool await rivals as Club World Cup draw held
September 17 2019 12:28 AM
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Former England and Liverpool player Michael Owen (left) poses with Club World Cup trophy in Zurich yesterday. PICTURES: FIFA

Agencies/Zurich

European champions Liverpool were left waiting to see who they will face in the Club World Cup semi-finals after yesterday’s draw pitted them against four potential opponents.
Despite being six-times European champions, Liverpool have never won the world club title in any of its many guises with their most recent attempt ending in a shock 1-0 defeat by Sao Paulo in the 2005 final in Japan.
Yesterday, they were drawn to face the winners of the quarter-final between CONCACAF champions Monterrey of Mexico and either Al Sadd, champions of hosts Qatar, or Hienghene Sport, Oceania title holders, who meet in a preliminary round match.
However, if Al Sadd win the Asian Champions League, which is at the quarter-final stage, they would be replaced in the preliminary round by the Asian runners-up, and move straight into the quarter-finals.
In the other semi-final, the eventual South American champions will face either Tunisian side Esperance, the African champions, or the eventual Asian Champions League winners.
The Club World Cup, to be staged in Qatar in December, will be the penultimate edition of the tournament in its current form. From 2021, it will become a 24-team event staged every four years rather than a seven-team contest held annually.
Liverpool won the old European Cup in 1977 and 1978 but declined to play in the old two-leg Intercontinental Cup final against Boca Juniors, the champions of South America.
In 1981, they lost to Flamengo in a single match played in Tokyo and in 1984 were beaten by Independiente.
In 2005, with the title now decided by a seven-team tournament, they reached the final where they lost to Sao Paulo.
 “I’m really excited for the competition,” former England and Liverpool player Michael Owen said, following the draw. “There’s not many players that get their hands on this trophy in their careers and of course every player wants to win a whole array of trophies. This is one of the difficult ones to win and I’m sure everyone will be going full at it to win.”
Even though the full array of competitors set to head for the Gulf state in December is not confirmed, it is already guaranteed that there will see a new name etched into the record books as champions. The last time a new side lifted the trophy was Bayern Munich in 2013.
As it stands, 2005 runners-up Liverpool are heading to Qatar as the only former finalists, though the likes of Gremio, Boca Juniors, River Plate and Kashima Antlers could join them as past silver medallists. Meanwhile, Al Sadd and Monterrey both have a bronze medal in their trophy cabinet that they’ll be yearning to improve on.
This will also be the first time in over a decade where we will have seen back-to-back OFC debutants kick off the tournament on 11 December. After Team Wellington ended the regional hegemony of Auckland City in 2018 – following a record seven-straight appearances by their Kiwi rivals – Hienghene Sport will represent Oceania. Only four times in 16 editions have we not had a side from New Zealand competing.
The Club World Cup, to be staged in Qatar in December, will be the penultimate edition of the tournament in its current form. From 2021, it will become a 24-team event staged every four years rather than a seven-team contest held annually.
Liverpool won the old European Cup in 1977 and 1978 but declined to play in the old two-leg Intercontinental Cup final against Boca Juniors, the champions of South America.
In 1981, they lost to Flamengo in a single match played in Tokyo and in 1984 were beaten by Independiente. In 2005, with the title now decided by a seven-team tournament, Liverpool reached the final where they lost to Sao Paulo.
Al Sadd team manager Abdullah al-Breik spoke to the media in Zurich after the draw for the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup, which is set to be held in Doha in December. Al Sadd are set to make their second appearance in the intercontinental event, after a bronze medal finish in the 2011 edition.
Al-Breik described the Club World Cup as “important” for Al Sadd, especially with it being hosted in Qatar, and also expressed his side’s wish to play in the tournament as Asian champions.
“It is an important tournament for us, this will be our second appearance in it after 2011,” al-Breik said.
“We will be fully prepared to play in this edition which will be held in Doha. Our goal is to represent Qatari football in the best way and improve on our result from 2011.”
He added: “This tournament can add to our players’ experience, as they could face giants like Liverpool, like we did the last time against Barcelona in 2011.”
Al Sadd have automatically qualified for the event as the host representative, but al-Breik remarked that the side has further objectives: “Our goal is to play in the tournament as Asian champions.”



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