Football

Adrian saves the day as Liverpool win Super Cup

Second choice goalkeeper Adrian saved the tenth penalty in a shoot out to hand Liverpool the 2019 Super Cup, after a 2-2 AET draw against Chelsea.

The sides could not be split after 120 minutes of football so a penalty shoot out was required. Nine penalties were converted giving Liverpool a 5-4 lead; Chelsea youngster Tammy Abraham stepped up in what was now a sudden death situation, but saw his effort saved by Adrian, meaning Liverpool would lift the trophy – their 4th Super Cup triumph, with only Barcelona and A C Milan having won more than the Reds (5 each).

The game, played in Istanbul, Turkey, had been very eventful throughout. Chelsea more than played their part in the game and were, arguably, the better side overall. Certainly in the first half Chelsea had the lions share of the play and chances, and went into the half time break leading 1-0, when Christian Pulisic combined with French striker Olivier Giroud (above) – restored to the starting line up after being a substitute against Manchester United on Sunday – who made no mistake – his cross shot evading the despairing dive of the ex West Ham keeper Adrian, deputising for the injured Allison Becker.

Pulisic, an impressive figure in the Chelsea midfield, thought he had made it 2-0 minutes after Giroud’s opener, but it was (correctly) disallowed for the American being slightly offside initially.

Liverpool came out swinging in the second half though and quickly restored parity. Sadio Mane finishing off a Liverpool attack after Firmino had tapped the ball into his path giving him a chance he couldn’t miss.

The game was then opened up with both sides looking threatening. With about 15 minutes to go, Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga made a stunning double save – denying Mohamed Salah first before following up to push Virgil van Dijk’s rebound effort onto the post. Pedro then spurned a great chance for the Blues, sending a header over the bar, before Chelsea again had a goal disallowed for offside.

Neither team will have wanted an extra 30 minutes play, so early in the season in hot, humid conditions, and both with Premier League games to play this weekend – but the 90 minutes ended all square so into extra time the game went. It was Liverpool who took a 2-1 lead – the Firmino/Mane combo again producing the goods, with the Senegalese striker (above) notching his second of the game to give the Reds the advantage.

But Chelsea would not lie down, and again fought back impressively. They finished stronger and received a penalty when Abraham, introduced as a substitute for Giroud earlier, was upended by Adrian, from which Jorginho made no mistake. Abraham again went closer towards the death, sending a shot just wide of the upright with Adrian beaten.

Penalties were needed – and Liverpool, through Firmino, Fabinho, Origi, Alexander-Arnold and Salah, scored all five….Jorginho, Barkley, Mount and Emerson all netted replies for the Blues but Abraham couldn’t get past Adrian, who was mobbed by his team mates with the crucial save.

Once again, Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was positive of his side’s performance, despite ultimate defeat, stating :”If that is a sign of what we can do this season then that is a good sign and I’m happy. It’s very clear that it’s a really good performance from us against a team that has been building for years. I’m a new manager who has been here for six weeks.”

For Liverpool though, it represents another trophy to add to their collection, and another step in the right direction – although manager Jurgen Klopp will know that his side are not hitting the heady heights performance wise of last season – yet. Klopp started Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ahead of Firmino but felt the need to replace him with the Brazilian at half time – and Liverpool immediately looked more fluid and threatening as a result. Defensively they still looked shaky – especially down the right – and it will be of concern to Klopp that in the two matches (Norwich and Chelsea), there has been 33 combined attempts at the Liverpool goal. A ratio the Reds can ill afford to allow to continue if they wish the upward trend they are on to be maintained.

But, despite that, it is Liverpool that will go down in the history books as the 2019 Super Cup Champions.

2019 SUPER CUP RESULT : LIVERPOOL 2 – 2 CHELSEA – Liverpool win 5-4 on penalties

MATCH STATS

  • Possession : Liverpool 52% Chelsea 48%
  • Attempts at Goal : Liverpool 21 Chelsea 22
  • Attempts on Target : Liverpool 11 Chelsea 6
  • Free Kicks : Liverpool 24 Chelsea 10
  • Corners : Liverpool 8 Chelsea 7
  • Offsides : Liverpool 2 Chelsea 11
  • Fouls : Liverpool 10 Chelsea 12
  • Yellow Cards : Liverpool 2 Chelsea 1
  • Dangerous Attacks : Liverpool 48 Chelsea 76