Liverpool FC are getting ready to fly the flag for UEFA at the 2005 FIFA Club World Championship starting this weekend in Japan.
The English side's UEFA Champions League success in 2004/05 means they won the right to represent Europe at the six-team competition open to continental champions from across the globe. Liverpool play at home against Middlesbrough FC on Saturday before flying out to face either Sydney FC of Australia or Costa Rica's Deportivo Saprissa next Thursday.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard said: "Our job as players is to deliver results and we will be going to Japan with the intention of bringing the trophy home. We have a great fan base in Japan and I'm sure they're looking forward to seeing us play. It's also an opportunity for us to get a winners' medal and this competition gives us a unique opportunity to become world champions."
Liverpool will be entering in the semi-final stage along with Copa Libertadores holders São Paulo FC of Brazil, although the action gets under way on Sunday with a meeting of Saudia Arabia's Al Ittihad and Al Ahly of Egypt. The winners of that contest will take on São Paulo – featuring Real Madrid CF-bound full-back Cicinho - next Wednesday.
The victors from that tie and Liverpool's match will progress to the final to be played in Yokohama on 18 December. Aside from the European champions, there will be plenty of familiar faces for European football fans, not least with Sydney being coached by former Germany star Pierre Littbarski and Al Ittihad guided by ex-Romania coach Anghel Iordanescu.
|2005 FIFA Club World Championship|
|Qualifying zone||Participating club|
|AFC||Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia)|
|CAF||Al Ahly (Egypt)|
|CONCACAF||Deportivo Saprissa (Costa Rica)|
|CONMEBOL||São Paolo FC (Brazil)|
|OFC||Sydney FC (Australia)|
|UEFA||Liverpool FC (England)|
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