CONGRATULATIONS to Liverpool on becoming 2019 Club World Cup champions. That’s quite an accolade to imprint on football history.
They are a great team. Depending on whether they add their first Premier League title, which currently seems almost as certain as night following day, they may even be the greatest of Anfield’s best.
So my argument about their world championship isn’t with them but with the efficacy of the competition itself. It is the creature of Fifa ambitions and suspect even in its present form.
To begin with, it’s jammed into the European season like a steel bar through a cycle wheel, while it was added to Brazil’s season in which Liverpool’s final opposition, Flamengo, had played 79 times.
Semi-finalists Monterrey and Al Hilal played well enough but were regarded by many as fodder for Jurgen Klopp’s Champions League winners and Copa Libertadores holders Flamengo.
It doesn’t say much for me that my knowledge of Monterrey stretches only as far as Frank Sinatra’s lovely version of the song.
Klopp’s team scraped past the Sinatra lot and were pushed even further by Flamengo in the final.
My grumble is elsewhere. Voracious as ever, jealous of protecting their prestige, hungry for more money, Fifa are circling club football anxious to establish a competition that extends deeper into the present system.
Klopp himself complained recently that the football calendar needed pruning because of the relentless effort required by players for all but three or four weeks in the year.
Evidence was readily at hand when he was forced to field a bunch of lads in the League Cup, the day before the world final in Doha.
The current Christmas fixture crunch may be eased by a short winter break but by the time the European Championships come around, many a star player will be weary in mind and body.
They’ll have earned the average £3million a year in the Premier League and probably played 20 matches more than others, even before the Euros.
Already too much football, you may think.
But if this isn’t hard enough on players, in 2022 the World Cup, corrupted to November-December in the interests of Qatar, is going to cause fixture chaos.
That shows what Fifa are capable of doing, so imagine how damagingly they could spread the tentacles of a Club World Cup.