BRAZILIAN keeper Alisson is looking forward to the biggest game of his career tonight.
But his Liverpool team-mates are not filled with the same level of excitement.
While the Club World Cup appears almost an inconvenience for the European champions during a hectic season, the club’s No 1 is about to fulfil a childhood dream here in Qatar.
Alisson has been hoping for this chance since watching the team he supported as a child, Porto Alegre-based Internacional beat Barcelona 1-0 to win this tournament in Tokyo in 2006.
He said: “It is important to make history and help Liverpool win this trophy for the first time.
“I am excited to be here on this big stage, playing the Club World Cup. It is a dream come true.
“When I was young, at 14, my former club Internacional became Club World Cup champions in 2006 and I watched it as a supporter.
“I was so excited at that time. Then I started to dream of this. Now I am here, with this big opportunity to win it for the first time with Liverpool against a very big club.
“We are expecting a great game against a great side that is Flamengo.
"They showed this in the season by winning the League — and it is really difficult to win the Brazilian League — and also the Copa Libertadores, which is a great competition and they beat a great side in River Plate. It is so important to win this.”
Alisson’s fellow Brazilian, striker Roberto Firmino, who scored the injury-time winner for Wednesday’s 2-1 semi-final win over Mexicans Monterrey, will agree with his compatriot’s thoughts.
But from Liverpool’s point of view, particularly when you consider their priority is the Premier League, the build-up to this match has felt more like an EFL Trophy final when most teams do not really care if they lose — but are just hoping for a decent day out.
In contrast, for Flamengo, this is the ultimate mate challenge. The match has particular significance because for years, South American clubs and fans have become used to seeing their best players disappear to another continent.
So to get one over the Champions League winners, one of the major European powerhouses, would spark one hell of a knees up among their fans back in Rio.
Since Fifa started the competition in 2000, Corinthians have twice lifted the trophy along with fellow Brazilian sides Sao Paulo and Internacional.
Real Madrid won the last three while England’s only success came through Manchester United in 2008.
Alisson added: “It is big for Brazilians but I think it is bigger for who is playing in the game.
“If you are on the outside of this competition, you don’t give it value. It is an elite tournament — it is just for the winners. Flamengo won the Libatadores.
“We won the Champions League, Monterrey won the CONCACAF. We are here. We are making this big for us. This is important.”
Alisson helped his team beat Monterrey with a string of good saves. Equally, it was the stopper who helped Liverpool reach the Champions League final which they won with a 2-1 success over Spurs in June.
Yet a calf injury on the opening day of the season at Norwich not only ruled Alisson out for ten weeks but saw him miss the Uefa Super Cup in Istanbul.
The Reds won on spot-kicks against Chelsea, with Alisson’s deputy Adrian the hero.
Despite this also being a cup few people lose much sleep about, not featuring in Turkey clearly hurt Alisson. He said: “It is not easy to miss a final in that way. You always want to be involved.
“As a player you want to be there on the pitch doing what we love.
“When you miss games, you miss opportunities and it is normal that you are a little bit sad.
“I was at home injured when we won that final. I saw it of course.
“It means so much to me to be at this one.
“I think it is a dream come true to be in a final and doing what I love.”
Alisson was also asked whether it was true that most other fans in Brazil want Flamengo to lose tonight.
He added: “Yes! The biggest part of Brazil is supporting Liverpool!”
You could also speculate quite a few English supporters will be rooting for Flamengo this evening.