Since its creation in 1960, the Intercontinental Cup pitted the European champions against the South American champions. As winners of the European Cup in 1977 and 1978, Liverpool qualified for the Intercontinental Cup in both years, but declined both times. The 1981 match was thus the first appearance for both clubs.
The outcome of the match was never in doubt, as it became a showcase for the Brazilians' playmaker and captain, Zico, who created all three of Flamengo's goals. In the 12th minute, he sent a lob pass over the Liverpool defense to set up the goal by Nunes; in the 34th minute, he delivered a free kick that was slotted home by Adilio; and in the 41st minute, he sent a precision pass into the box for Nunes, who completed his brace.
The English side, meanwhile, was unable to penetrate Flamengo's stout defense and ended up on the wrong side of the 3-0 scoreline. For his efforts, Zico was named man of the match.
The 1981 match is Flamengo's only appearance to date in the Cup. Liverpool made it again in 1984, when they lost to Argentinian side Independiente.