There was no way the Brazilian contingent were allowing Liverpool to miss their date with destiny.

Not with compatriots Flamengo eagerly lying in wait.

What England and Europe have long grown accustomed became apparent on the world stage as Jurgen Klopp's side underlined why they are now one game away from being crowned the greatest team on the globe.

In increasingly trademark fashion, the Reds left it late, Monterrey the latest opponents to be devastated by an injury-time intervention in this FIFA Club World Cup semi-final.

Roberto Firmino had only been on the field a matter of moments when, 20 seconds into the added period, he arrived quickest at the near post to meet fellow substitute Trent Alexander-Arnold's low cross and prod the ball home.

Engulfed by his team-mates and sparking celebrations in the almost exclusively Liverpool-tinged support inside the Khalifa International Stadium, the joy was laced with a sizeable dose of relief, the Reds having sidestepped a major banana skin and spared themselves an energy-sapping extra time period.

Defeat here was unthinkable, Liverpool having essentially given up hope of Carabao Cup progress to prioritise the Club World Cup, the only major trophy they have yet to win.

And as injury and illness bit further into an already small squad, Klopp's options – and, more pertinently, his defence – were stretched to breaking point.

It made the omission of Firmino and Sadio Mane from the starting line-up something of a gamble, even if the duo cannot be expected to play every game.

Ultimately it paid off. That Liverpool got the job done, though, was in part down to the performance of another Brazilian, Alisson Becker pulling off a string of saves that, while not particularly spectacular, were crucial in ensuring the Reds emerged intact from various wobbles.

Jurgen Klopp on the touchline in Qatar
Jurgen Klopp on the touchline in Qatar

And it again highlighted the resilience and determination that has characterised their efforts in the Premier League and Champions League this season.

Nervy and tense throughout, the game was at times a tetchy affair, never more so than during one second-half flashpoint when Klopp and Monterrey counterpart Antonio Mohamed went toe-to-toe after the latter called for the dismissal of Joe Gomez for a second bookable offence.

Make no mistake, the Mexicans, strong on the counter-attack, were a real challenge until Firmino's late intervention, even if there was a clear gulf in class between the teams.

Klopp's rotation up front was even more surprising given Virgil van Dijk was missing through illness.

With Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren injured, makeshift options Fabinho and Gini Wijnaldum out and youngsters Ki-Jana Hoever and Sepp van den Berg playing against Aston Villa, Jordan Henderson was asked to partner Joe Gomez in the heart of defence.

Van Dijk's absence was most keenly felt was at set-pieces, Liverpool unable to muster much threat while unable to clear properly for Monterrey's equaliser.

Henderson, however, deserves huge credit, answering a late call with a performance that belied the fact he had never before played for the Reds in the position.

Jordan Henderson of Liverpool during the FIFA Club World Cup semi-final
Jordan Henderson of Liverpool during the FIFA Club World Cup semi-final

No wonder Klopp made a beeline to his skipper at the final whistle, Henderson's second World Cup semi-final in 18 months memorable for far happier reasons.

Mohamed Salah was another who shone, coping well with the expectation that comes with being a genuine icon to the Arab football community.

He was cheered loudly whenever he appeared on the big screen during the warm-up, and his every touch in the Monterrey half prompted a buzz of anticipation around the stadium.

The Mexicans knew he was the danger man and, within moments, he was on the receiving end of a sore one from Leonel Vangoini.

But Salah gave his adoring fans what they had come to see after just 12 minutes.

With Nicolas Sanchez far too close, the Egyptian was allowed to turn and play the ball through the legs of the Monterrey defender and into space behind the backline where the incoming Naby Keita arrived with a perfectly-timed run to sidefoot the ball beyond goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero.

It was Keita's third goal in as many appearances, the Guinean taking another step forward with an impressive, progressive display.

Naby Keita of Liverpool celebrates with teammates
Naby Keita of Liverpool celebrates with teammates

But any momentum Liverpool thought they could gain from their bright start was soon halted as Monterrey levelled within two minutes, the Reds defence failing to properly clear from a set-piece and, after Alisson saved a shot from Jesus Gallardo, Funes Mori – twin brother of former Everton defender Ramiro – tapped in the rebound.

Salah was creator again later in the half when more intricate footwork in the penalty area fashioned an opportunity for James Milner, whose toe-poke was stopped by the outstretched leg of Barovero.

But despite dominating possession in the first half, the only real other opportunity of note the Reds could muster was when Keita ran on to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's pass but a deflection allowed Barovero to smother.

Read More

Monterrey vs Liverpool matchday

In the second half, clever feet created a chance for Keita which Barovero saved, and Divock Origi put wide an effort after good work from Milner.

However, it was only when Mane, Alexander-Arnold and Firmino were introduced that, with the game becoming stretched and their superior fitness starting to show, Liverpool started to seriously threaten a winner, which came after Salah's persistence kept the ball alive for the two substitutes to do the rest.

Klopp said before the game Liverpool hadn't flown thousands of miles just to put on a show – they are here in Qatar to win.

Flamengo await on Saturday, 1981 and all that. Destiny is calling.