'It was incredible': Jurgen Klopp hails his players after Liverpool win World Club Cup in Qatar (VIDEO)
An extra-time strike from Roberto Firmino proved decisive as Liverpool defeated Brazilian Copa Libertadores champions Flamengo 1-0 to capture the World Club Cup in Qatar on Saturday night.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was delighted with his team's performance after a difficult week spent juggling priorities and managing injuries. But the Anfield side came away as world champions as the captured one of the few remaining trophies not previously won by the club thanks to their extra-time victory.
"We are exhausted from a very intense game but in moments of like this, I struggle to find the right words, to express my respect for the boys," said Klopp.
"It was incredible, we did so many good things, everyone was on the edge pretty much and there were so many sensational, good performances."
Flamengo proved to be tricky opponents for Liverpool, as the Brazilian side shut down the Champions League winners' fast-flowing football and presented plenty of problems of their own in attack. It meant the match had a real tension to it as it remained goalless throughout 90 ever-more-anxious minutes for the Liverpool boss.
But while many detractors questioned the wisdom of Liverpool flying halfway around the world to play in the competition, Klopp said the upheaval was worth the effort as they prepared to head back to England as world champions.
"I said before I didn’t know how it would feel and now I can say – it's outstanding," he said.
"Late goals – we don’t want to need them but they were necessary and important. The boys have improved a lot over these months and when you start believing you believe through the full 90 minutes and in this case 120 minutes."
And Klopp had special words for his matchwinner, as Firmino, who has had to play second-fiddle to in-form teammates Mo Salah and Sadio Mane at times this season, stepped up when his team needed him to net the decisive goal.
"If one is not scoring the other one, or the other two, are scoring. We needed his goals here and I couldn’t be more happy for him," he said.
"Before the game we spoke a lot about how much this means to Brazilians, and it meant a lot to him. I am really delighted for him."