Home Football Adrian The Hero As Liverpool Beat Chelsea On Penalties To Win Super Cup

Adrian The Hero As Liverpool Beat Chelsea On Penalties To Win Super Cup

Liverpool have won the Super Cup after an arduous and eventful game in Istanbul.

Liverpool, the winners of the European Cup, and Chelsea, the Europa League holders, played out a 2-2 draw, 1-1 after normal time, in the Turkish capital.

Jurgen Klopp’s team won the final on penalties. Adrian, the backup goalkeeper signed on a free transfer and thrust into the starting XI following the injury to Alisson Becker, was the hero, saving the decisive kick in the shootout.

The final was played at half-pace for long spells, before bursting into life sporadically with moments of quality. Neither team will have wanted extra-time, and the sight of players pulling up with cramp would make one question the merits of not just going straight to penalties.

However, the early season trophy will be a confidence boost to Klopp’s team and Adrian, who looks set for an extended spell in the first-team. The former West Ham United keeper had earlier conceded a penalty in the match.

Chelsea took the lead after 36-minutes of a frantic first half. Liverpool lost possession near the centre-circle and could only watch as N’Golo Kante weaved his way through midfield and played a pass into Christian Pulisic. The American, signed in January from Borussia Dortmund for €64m, collected the ball and dribbled straight at the opposition defence.

Pulisic drew the attention of several Liverpool players, who were lacklustre in their attempts to stop the winger’s run and switched off as he played a pass into the path of Olivier Giroud.

The French centre-forward evaded the attention of the Liverpool defence, kept his cool and buried the ball beyond Adrian.

Chelsea fully deserved their goal and their lead. Liverpool were strangely sloppy and out of sync, their midfield lacked intensity, their defensive line was all at sea and there were several individual errors.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, making his first competitive appearance since April 2018, was inevitably rusty after such a long period out injured, but he would have hoped for a bigger say on proceedings. The England midfielder had just 14 touches of the ball in the first half.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was substituted at half-time for Roberto Firmino in a move that helped change the game. The Brazilian had an instant impact, knocking the ball into Sadio Mane’s path with a deft touch. Mane, on the second attempt, stuck the ball into Chelsea’s net and drew Liverpool level.

The intensity of the match dipped as the contest progressed, with Liverpool coming closest to winning in normal time. Kepa Arrizabalaga pulled off an incredible double-save to keep the score level.

The tie sparked into life in extra-time. Liverpool went ahead for the first time on the night thanks to a wonderful goal from Mane. Once again, Firmino was centrally involved.

The Brazilian drifted wide, took a few looks behind him and waited for the perfect moment to cut the ball back for Mane, who hit a stunning shot beyond Kepa and into the roof of the net.

Jorginho levelled the score from the penalty spot before half-time in extra-time. However, Adrian was equal to Tammy Abraham’s tame penalty in the final kick of the shootout.

The Spanish goalkeeper was mobbed by his new teammates following his save.

“Welcome to Liverpool. It was a crazy week. I am happy for the team. I am happy to get a trophy,” Adrian said after the game.

“I am really happy for the fans. It was a long game but in the end it was a great finish for us. To be fair I tried to stop when I saw him. The striker is so intelligent. I touched him with the penalty but he was looking for that. I told the referee I tried to stop but it doesn’t matter. We got the title and have to enjoy tonight.”

About Robert Redmond