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Klopp relieved as injury-hit Reds avoid extra time

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was a relieved man as his injury-hit squad avoided extra time to book their place in the Club World Cup final.

The Reds boss admits he did not see the Brazil international Roberto Firmino sweep home in the first minute of added time for a 2-1 win over Monterrey in the semi-final as there were too many of his own players preparing to celebrate in front of him.

But he knew it was a crucial goal as it spared his players, many of whom have featured in the majority of the 27 games before this outing in Doha, 30 more minutes of physical exertion - and also killed off the Mexicans' chances of springing a surprise.

Firmino converted a cross from another of Klopp's substitutes Trent Alexander-Arnold for the winner, after Naby Keita's third goal in as many games was quickly cancelled out by Rogelio Funes Mori, twin brother of former Everton defender Ramiro.

"I was actually afraid of extra time so I was more than happy that Bobby scored that goal," said Klopp.

"We had to do a few changes because we had no other options but we wanted to do some other changes which meant we left Trent, Bobby and Sadio (Mane) off."

Monterrey, the CONCACAF Champions League winners, made life difficult for a below-par Liverpool but there were mitigating factors as illness to Virgil Van Dijk meant Joe Gomez was the one fit centre-back and the hole left by the Dutchman was filled by midfielder Jordan Henderson.

It was far from ideal but Klopp had little option with Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren, Fabinho and Georginio Wijnaldum all injured and youngsters Ki-Jana Hoever and Sepp Van Den Berg en route from England after their Carabao Cup exploits.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have made a late decision to fly 16-year-old Harvey Elliott to Qatar after the injury he sustained impressing against Aston Villa was not deemed serious.

Three of his team-mates on Tuesday night - Hoever, Van Den Berg and Caoimhin Kelleher - were already on their way and now Elliott will join them.

Elliott, Hoever and Van Den Berg were named in the official 23-man squad so will be eligible to face Flamengo in Saturday's final but Kelleher will not as he was not on the original list.

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