Liverpool win UEFA Super Cup, defeat Chelsea through penalties
Adrian was the hero yesterday, as Liverpool beat Chelsea via a penalty shoot-out to win the UEFA Super Cup.
Following a thrilling 2-2 draw in regulation time in Istanbul, Adrian stopped Tammy Abraham’s kick to hand the UEFA Champions League holders a 5-4 victory in the shoot out.
Chelsea drew the first blood in the first half of a pulsating encounter through Olivier Giroud, but Sadio Mane equalised just three minutes after the restart.
Frank Lampard made three changes from the heavy 4-0 defeat to Manchester United, including handing a full debut to Christian Pulisic, while Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp handed the first start from April 2018 to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ahead of Roberto Firmino.
The Chelsea coach would have been delighted with the way his team started, taking the game to Liverpool despite intense pressing from the Reds.
But it was Mohamed Salah, the former Chelsea man, who had the first opportunity, seeing his poked effort kept out by Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Chances were starting to come at both ends and Pedro couldn’t believe his luck, or lack of when he thundered his left-footed effort off the underside of the crossbar.
The Blues began to press forward and got their reward when Kante dribbled through the middle, finding Pulisic in the channel, and the American found Giroud who coolly slotted home underneath Adrian.
It could have been 2-0 just minutes later when Pulisic thought he had his first Chelsea goal. The American starlet cut in from the left and raced past Joel Matip before firing a low shot into the corner. But after consulting VAR, referee Stephanie Frappart correctly chalked the goal off for offside.
Jurgen Klopp sent on Firmino at the break and the decision paid off almost immediately, with the Brazilian superbly setting up the chance for Mane, and the Senegalese stabbed home from close range on 48 minutes.
Liverpool was hoping to strike while the iron was still hot, pushing Chelsea back into their own half, but the Blues weathered the storm as the game entered a cagey phase.
That was until the 74th minute when Kepa made a sensational double save to deny Mohamed Salah and then Virgil van Dijk on the rebound, tipping the Dutchman’s close-range effort onto the crossbar to keep the scores level.
Mason Mount, on as a substitute, though he had struck a late winner but the flag was correctly raised against the 20-year-old.
With nothing to separate the two sides, the match went to extra-time and the drama continued shortly after.
Firmino was once again the architect for Liverpool, crafting a lovely cutback for Mane, and the Senegalese hammered home into the roof of the net.
But an error from Adrian allowed Chelsea to get back on level terms, colliding into Abraham in the penalty area. Up stepped Jorginho and he coolly rolled his penalty into the corner - but it was Liverpool who took the Cup on penalties.
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