Liverpool claimed the UEFA Super Cup on penalties as they drew 2-2 with Premier League rivals Chelsea in Istanbul on Wednesday evening.
The Blues enjoyed an extremely impressive first-half and headed into the break with a well-deserved lead following Olivier Giroud’s 36th minute strike. The European champions equalised only minutes after the restart as Roberto Firmino fed Sadio Mane. He was on the scoresheet yet again in extra-time as he powered home a wonderful effort.
Chelsea did get level again though as Adrian’s foul on Tammy Abraham was enough for a penalty-kick. Jorginho stepped up and coolly stroked the ball into the bottom corner. The game was ultimately to be decided on spot-kicks, with Abraham this time unable to get the better of the Spanish stopper as the Reds claimed another European trophy.
Chances in the opening stages
The first chance of a competitive match actually came the way of Brazilian midfielder Fabinho as the ball fell to him at the back post but his powerful drive could not beat Kepa in the Chelsea net.
Pedro then had a fantastic chance to open the scoring as he raced in behind the Liverpool defence but a wonderful recovery challenge from Andrew Robertson saw the ball nicked off of the former Barcelona man.
Chelsea eventually open the scoring
The Blues continued to create opportunities and then went extremely close to the opening goal as Pedro raced away from Joe Gomez and looked to power a shot past Adrian but could only smack a thunderous effort off of the crossbar. The Spaniard also threaded a wonderful ball into the path of Mateo Kovacic but Adrian was out well the collect the ball at the feet of the Croatian midfielder.
The net did eventually bulge however and it was Giroud, who was in spectacular form in the UEFA Europa League last season, who was the man first on the scoresheet. Christian Pulisic, making his full debut for Frank Lampard’s men, released the Frenchman in behind and the striker stayed cool to slot the ball low into the net.
They thought they had a second just before half-time as Pulisic himself dribbled through the Liverpool defence and netted into the bottom corner but the goal was ruled out for offside.
Reds react straight after half-time
Jurgen Klopp’s troops were severely disappointing before the break and the German elected to introduce Firmino in an attempt to turn the tide. The Brazilian indeed had an instant impact as he reacted first to a lofted ball over the Chelsea defence and prodded the ball to Mane, who equalised as he poked the ball home with Kepa scrambling.
They almost had another only seconds later as Fabinho’s wicked effort flashed just wide of the Chelsea net. Two chances with only 15 minutes remaining then came and went as Kepa stepped up just when Chelsea needed him most. The goalkeeper at first produced a sprawling stop to halt Salah’s effort before then also recovering to somehow tip van Dijk’s instinctive effort onto the crossbar.
Chelsea made their own changes with the game coming to an end and substitute Mason Mount thought he had won the match but his strike too was ruled out by offside flag. As it happened though, neither side were able to edge ahead throughout the regulation period as the game headed into extra-time.
Mane the man again
Just like in the second-half, Mane netted only minutes after the restart once again. The Senegalese played Firmino in behind, with the Brazilian returning the ball as he whipped a great cross into the Chelsea box. Mane did not need to think for one second as he powered the ball into the back of the net via the crossbar.
Liverpool’s lead did not last very long though as Adrian fouled Abraham in the box, with a penalty being awarded. Jorginho was the man to assume responsibility and he slotted the ball coolly into the bottom corner.
Abraham should have completed the turnaround but his shot from Pedro’s centre spun just wide of goal. Mount then also went close yet again as he was teed up by the striker but Adrian produced a fantastic stop to claw the ball away from the top corner, meaning the game headed into penalties.
Firmino got Liverpool off to the perfect start with a cool penalty, with Jorginho following that up with a successful strike of his own. Fabinho and Barkley continued the trend as they both scored, before Divock Origi just squeezed his effort past Kepa. Mount powered his spotkick into the top corner, with Trent Alexander-Arnold also managing to only just score underneath Kepa. Emerson and Salah both scored confident efforts, leaving the final responsibility with Abraham. However, he could not score as the ball ricocheted off of Adrian’s legs and away as Liverpool claimed the UEFA Super Cup.
The match really was a game of two halves. Chelsea were in the ascendency throughout the first period, whilst Liverpool dominated following the break. The two teams really tired in extra-time in the heat of Istanbul and the win could have gone either way following that. Taking the whole match into account, there wasn’t too much separating the two teams but Liverpool will be delighted to have added to their trophy cabinet.
Liverpool: Adrian (6); Robertson (7) (Alexander-Arnold (6), 90′), van Dijk (7), Matip (7), Gomez (6); Milner (6) (Wijnaldum (7), 64′), Fabinho (7), Henderson (7); Mane (8) (Origi (6), 103′), Salah (6), Oxlade-Chamberlain (5) (Firmino (8), 46′).
Chelsea: Kepa (7); Emerson (7), Zouma (6), Christensen (7) (Tomori (N/A), 84′), Azpilicueta (7); Kovacic (6) (Barkley (6), 101′), Kante (8), Jorginho (7); Pulisic (7) (Mount (7), 74′), Giroud (7) (Abraham (6), 74′), Pedro (7).
Goals: Giroud (36′), Mane (48′, 95′), Jorginho PEN (101′)
Referee: Stephanie Frappart
Yellow Cards: Azpilicueta (79′), Henderson (85′), Alexander-Arnold (107′)
Red Cards: N/A
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