0-1 Giroud (36'). 1-1 Mane (48'). 2-1 Mane (95'). 2-2 Jorginho (101' pen).
Liverpool 2-2 (5-4) Chelsea: Adrian the hero as Liverpool emerge victorious in Istanbul once again to claim UEFA Super Cup

Liverpool 2-2 (5-4) Chelsea: Adrian the hero as Liverpool emerge victorious in Istanbul once again to claim UEFA Super Cup

joshuakerr97
Joshua Kerr
Liverpool FCADRIAN, GOMEZ, MATIP, VAN DIJK, ROBERTSON (ALEXANDER-ARNOLD), FABINHO, MILNER (WIJNALDUM 64), HENDERSON, OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN (FIRMINO 45), SALAH, MANE (ORIGI 103).
Chelsea fcKEPA, AZPILICUETA, CHRISTENSEN (TOMORI 85), ZOUMA, EMERSON, KANTE, JORGINHO, KOVACIC (BARKLEY 105, PEDRO GIROUD (ABRAHAM 74), PULISIC (MOUNT 74).
INCIDENTSUEFA SUPER CUP FINAL BETWEEN LIVERPOOL AND CHELSEA IN ISTANBUL

A fully committed encounter that had its fair share of pretty much everything was settled on penalties at half-past midnight in Turkey. 

120 minutes of football couldn't settle this all-English contest in the UEFA Super Cup. For Liverpool, there was another famous Istanbul comeback but nothing on the level of that Champions League final 14 years ago, as they fought back from a goal down to claim the second piece of silverware in the Jurgen Klopp era. 

For Chelsea, it was the perfect response to their heavy weekend humbling to Manchester United and only Frank Lampard's second competitive match in charge of his beloved Blues. 

Much to their manager's delight, Chelsea executed an almost perfect gameplan to lead at the break and also responded to letting their lead slip after Sadio Mane had scored twice to supposedly deliver Liverpool's second European trophy in two months. 

In the end, there was no standout victor with both teams potentially paying the price for such a gruelling encounter when the weekend fixtures emerge in just a couple of days despite numerous bodies cramping up by the final whistle.

Liverpool's title of European royalty came into devastating effect once against following the walls of red inside the stadium, with the club's vast support from all corners of the world on display in the BJK Vodafone Park. Istanbul has become a city so tender in the hearts of Reds supporters following the burnished memory of the 2005 European Cup final. 

The story of the match

Chelsea appeared drastically outnumbered with the stadium being consumed by 95 per cent of Liverpool supporters which certainly added to the narrative of Klopp's side being overwhelming favourites in the first contest between two English sides in this competition.

However, Chelsea seemingly didn't get that memo, with not an Englishman ins sight for Lampard's team, with the club legend opting for an experienced group of players that was typified by N'Golo Kante, who despite only training the day before following an ankle injury was the catalyst for everything that was good about this Chelsea performance.

Despite the fanatics listing this as another money-making glorified friendly the intensity and tenacity of proceedings certainly juxtaposed the concept. It wasn't quite the vicious tactical wizardry battles of over a decade ago with Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez locking horns as the two teams met in the Champions League on 10 separate occasions.

A rivalry that has seemingly calmed down in recent years saw Liverpool threaten first after Mohamed Salah forced a sharp one-handed save from Kepa Arrizabalaga. Mane also made his first start of the campaign following a delayed pre-season and was quick to the scene only to be denied by a smart interception from Andreas Christensen

The man who helped inspire his beloved Senegal national team all the way to the African Cup of Nations final was playing through the middle with Roberto Firmio on the bench and, for the first time since he suffered a horrific knee injury in the Champions League semi-final in April 2018, a rare start for 'like a new signing' Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Meanwhile, Lampard had clearly addressed the holes from Sunday's demoralising and soul-crushing defeat as the Englishman threw the 4-2-3-1 approach swiftly out the window and similarly to Maurizio Sarri much to the discredit of the Chelsea loyalists threw Kante in an attacking right midfield position. It worked. 

Chelsea were the architects of their own wrongdoings at the weekend being dealt the Coup De Grace at the counter-attack on more than one occasion, but this time used the break to their own effect and to their credit it paid dividends. 

The Blues' created a number of chances before deservedly taking the lead. First Oliver Giroud dragged a shot past the post before Pedro was denied following some last-ditch heroics from Andy Robertson. Joel Matip made his first start since the Champions League final coming in at centre-half alongside Virgil van Dijk with Joe Gomez operating as right-back.

The Cameroon defender began where he left off from last season with some imperious blocks and interceptions to keep the Chelsea threat at bay. However, Matip was given the slip by Giroud and Pedro as the duo combined before Giroud fired a shot across Adrian and straight off the bar. Lampard was left bemused on the sidelines kicking the turf with a face that looked physically sick at the sight of his team being denied yet again by the woodwork similarly to the two times they were undone by United on Sunday. 

However, Chelsea remained in the ascendancy, their dominance personified when Kante audaciously nutmegged both Fabinho and then James Milner. Adrian was making his first Liverpool start and considering there was silverware om the line the Spaniard conducted himself admirably to deny Mateo Kovacic as the midfielder threatened to round the former West Ham shot-stopper from eight yards out after Pedro acutely put the Croatian international one-vs-one. 

Kante continued to run the midfield and surged from halfway with Christian Pulisic alongside the Frenchman. Pulisic, also making his first Chelsea start, took matters into his own proceedings and slipped a ball behind Matip into the path of Giroud who calmly stroked a low shot across Adrian and into the net. 

Liverpool appeared on the ropes and were a shadow of their normal selves lacking any initiative to gather a stronghold in the game. Pulisic, Kante and Pedro were magnificent to upset Klopp's usual rhythm and it also highlighted Lampard's ability to upset teams similarly to how he did at Derby during the managerial masterclass against Leeds United at Elland Road.

The European champions could have gone into the break 2-0 down after Pulisic had the ball in the back of the net only to be denied by a correct offside call. Oxlade-Chamberlain made way after the break, replaced by Firmino who ignited an immediate reaction from his team as Liverpool swiftly struck back. 

Fabinho spotted his the run of his international compatriot and lifted a delicate pass over the Chelsea defence finding Firmino who acrobatically flicked the ball onto his fellow forward Mane who accepted the gift and bundled the ball into the unguarded goal.

The introduction of Firmino transformed Liverpool once again demonstrating the No.9's undeniable importance to Klopp's squad. Once again Firmino found Mane with the Sengalease ace blitzing down the left before striking a low cross that was met by the onrushing Jordan Henderson, whose shot deflected straight into the palms of Arrizabalaga. 

Chelsea, who started the game so brilliantly were suddenly struggling to get a foothold. Unsurprisingly it was up to Kante to inevitably find some inspiration after letting loose Pulisic towards goal only for the forward to be denied by Gomez who put on the afterburners to track back and clear.

Former Championship loanees Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham were finally welcomed to the party with the latter being forced into early heroics alongside Arrizabalaga to deny both Salah's fierce shot and then Van Dijk's follow up that struck the bar before being cleared away.

The unneeded prospect of extra-time inevitably followed much to the dismay of both team's who had fought so fiercely in 24-degree heat. Perhaps it should have gone straight to penalties. But where is the fun in that? 

However, as midnight struck, so did Mane. He ignited a move on the left-side with Firmino who cut the ball back into his path for the forward to side-foot a high and venomous shot high, off the bar, and into Kepa's goal.

Was this the final chapter in the story. No. After all, this is Istanbul and this is no venue for light theatre and Liverpool were back in town. Courageously Chelsea fought back after Abraham beat Adrian to a loose ball before falling to the deck claiming the goalkeeper nipped him. Referee Stephanie Frappart - who must be said had an almost faultless game - gave the spot-kick despite Liverpool protests that cried out for no contact before Jorginho delivered a far cry of his own to calmly roll the ball past Adrian.

So the footballing cliche of penalties was thrown amongst the footballing audience yet again. A sad, but inevitable way to finish a final and there always has to be a loser.

In this case, it was Chelsea as Abraham missed the only spot-kick of the night after the leg of Adrian meant the Spaniard would be the hero to live in folklore on this occasion. 

Lampard will be happy with his player's reaction to Sunday's 4-0 defeat at Old Trafford and will take faith in his team's adaptability to certain scenarios.

As for Liverpool, winning was all that mattered. Having something tangible for their efforts is now what Klopp demands from his players. It was another European final win in Istanbul despite the sequel failing to live up to the billing of the first. But hey, they never do in Hollywood do they? 

The manner of victory was settled the same way as against AC Milan over 14 years ago and seeing Henderson lift another trophy to the heavens it's fair to say that winning has never felt so sweet for Liverpool.

 

 

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