Backup keeper Adrian the hero as Liverpool beat Chelsea to lift UEFA Super Cup
It was another all-English final as Champions League winners Liverpool faced Europa League winners Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup this morning. The game was as tight as they come finishing 1-1 after 90 minutes, 2-2 after extra time and 5-4 after penalties with Liverpool coming away the victors thanks to heroics from backup keeper Adrian.
Whilst the UEFA Super Cup is normally a largely ceremonial affair, it took on more importance for Chelsea after their nightmare start to the Premier League season losing 4-0 to Manchester United.
This was new manager Frank Lampard’s first chance at silverware but more importantly a chance to lay down a marker against top opposition and recover from their horrid start to the season.
The Blues were first on the board with French striker Olivier Giroud slotting home in the bottom corner assisted by new signing Christian Pulisic late in the first half. (Liverpool 0 – 1 Chelsea)
Roberto Firmino came on at half-time for Liverpool and made an immediate impact beating the keeper before laying it off for Sadio Mane to poke home the equaliser in the opening minutes of the second half. (Liverpool 1 – 1 Chelsea)
There were chances a plenty for both teams however strong games for keepers Kepa and Adrian kept the score level at the end of 90 minutes.
It was Liverpool that came out of the stoppage firing again with Roberto Firmino assisting Sadio Mane for another goal 5 minutes in. (Liverpool 2 – 1 Chelsea)
Minutes later though, Liverpool keeper Adrian brought down Tammy Abraham in the box with the ref pointing to the spot for a penalty. A VAR check showed contact to be minimal but the penalty decision stood, raising questions for many. Jorginho held his cool though to slot home and restore parity. (Liverpool 2 – 2 Chelsea)
Both teams had chances to seal the game in the remainder of extra time, neither able to find that killer finish, sending the game to penalties.
No small task for Liverpool keeper Adrian considering he joined the club only 10 days ago as backup for first-choice keeper Alisson. His injury against Norwich in the Premier League Matchday 1 thrust Adrian into the team for the foreseeable future, starting with a European final.
With the stage set, Adrian rose to the occasion, saving Chelsea’s last penalty to be an immediate hero for the Reds. (Penalties: Liverpool 5 – 4 Chelsea)
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A tough way to lose for Chelsea but a far more encouraging showing for Frank Lampard’s side with positives to take into their game against Leicester on Monday morning.
Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool lift their second European trophy in quick succession and will come away with slightly less concern about the absence of Alisson.
The game also had a bit of history in it with French referee Stephanie Frappart becoming the first female to referee a major European men’s game.