This Liverpool team just never gives up.
The great teams, the truly great ones from Liverpool in the 1980s, Manchester United in the 90s, and now Jurgen Klopp’s current generation have that wonderful knack of always getting late goals.
This was far from a memorable game, a tepid atmosphere, a much-changed Liverpool team on the brink of history and yet struggling to get the job done in the Khalifa Stadium.
But, yet again, they left it late with Roberto Firmino getting the injury time winner to send Liverpool into Saturday’s final with Flamengo and set up the dream tie between the European and South American champions.
Incredibly, Liverpool have never won the Club World Cup despite lifting the European Cup six times and now they have a wonderful chance to write their name into the history books.
That was surely what drove them on because Liverpool were a long way from their brilliant best but winners have resilience and Klopp has instilled by the bucketload.
They keep going until the bitter end and, as they have done on numerous occasions this season, they conjured up a winner from nowhere. It is not luck, it is far more than that.
Typically, it was Mo Salah’s tenacity and substitute Trent Alexander-Arnold’s clever assist which set up the winner for Firmino to fire home at the near post.
But that was a rare moment of cohesion in a scrappy, ugly and disappointing game with Liverpool complaining of roughhouse tactics from the Mexicans who were more guilty of theatricals if anything.
It was a clash of styles, it did not make for a classic encounter and yet it was Liverpool keeper Alisson who really saved his team from an embarrassing semi final defeat with a string of fine saves.
Liverpool, in contrast, were wasteful as their unfamiliar looking front three of Salah, Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi never clicked and Klopp’s gamble of resting his weary, trophy-chasing big guns did not work.
Klopp had no option at centre half with Virgil van Dijk ill and Jordan Henderson filled in, James Milner played at right back, Adam Lallana struggled in the midfield holding role, there were issues all over the pitch.
Make no mistake, Liverpool will need to be a lot better on Saturday to see off Flamengo if they are to win the Holy Grail because Monterrey let them off the hook.
The Mexicans fought, scrapped and battled while their fans never stopped singing from the first minute to the last and at least that added to the atmosphere.
Incredibly, Liverpool fans were kept waiting outside the stadium before kick off as they struggled to get in which makes you feel for those who travelled 3,500 miles only to miss part of the match.
They have wonderful facilities here, state-of-the-art training bases and yet they definitely have issues to iron out if the World Cup is to be truly memorable in three years’ time.
Sadly for those Liverpool fans waiting outside, they missed a lightning start. Liverpool started brightly, tantalising and teasing Monterrey as Salah looked dangerous, holding the ball up, trying to play in his team mates.
It worked after 12 minutes as Salah held off a defender, used all his strength to turn and play in Naby Keita who raced into the box and lifted the ball over the keeper.
It looked as if it would be an easy night for Liverpool. But maybe the changes and unfamiliar opponents was the reason they could not find their rhythm and they allowed Monterrey back into the game.
Monterrey were level within three minutes. Liverpool failed to clear their lines, Jesus Gallardo’s shot was brilliantly saved by keeper Alisson but then Rogelio Funes Mori was on hand to fire home the rebound.
Monterrey captain Dorlan Pabon was a handful down the right, his cross shot and another effort forced brilliant saves from Alisson.
It was a night when Alisson proved he is the best in the world with terrific saves while Pabon missed a glorious chance.
Klopp was yellow carded on the touchline as he lost his temper with Monterrey boss Antonio Mohamed who was screaming for Joe Gomez to be sent off for his rugby tackle on Funes Mori bu he escaped with just a booking.
Origi missed a huge chance as the clock was ticking down and eventually Klopp sent for the big guns as Firmino, Sadio Mane and Alexander-Arnold all came on to win the game.
A minute into injury time, Salah held the ball up brilliantly, fed Alexander-Arnold who threaded through more of a pass than a cross and there was Firmino to steer home.