Liverpool win Super Cup – but at what cost?
Extra time and penalties in Istanbul leave both teams shattered as Reds overcome Chelsea
Liverpool 2 Chelsea 2 [Liverpool win 5-4 on penalties]
Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties to win the Super Cup with Adrian the hero as the Reds won their first silverware of the season.
Having lost to Manchester City on penalties in the final of the Community Shield ten days ago, it was Liverpool’s turn to taste glory as Adrian - stepping up in the absence of the injured Alisson - saved Tammy Abraham’s spot kick. It was a night of highs and lows for the 32-year-old Spaniard, who only arrived at Anfield nine days ago after leaving West Ham.
Loud and proud
He made a string of fine saves in normal time but gave away a late penalty - ironically, against Abraham - that allowed Chelsea to level the scores at 2-2. But he redeemed himself with his shootout exploits, earning the praise of his manager in the process. “Wonderful story,” exclaimed a delighted Jurgen Klopp. “He’s really loud in the dressing room already! The Spanish emotions... it’s so nice for him.”
What wasn’t so nice for Klopp was the fact that the match went to extra-time and then penalties. It was nearly 1am in Istanbul before the match finished, and in just over 48 hours Liverpool play Southampton at St Mary’s. Should the Reds lose that match will it have been worth it? “It was a very difficult game for both teams,” admitted Klopp. “Nobody in the stadium wanted extra time, it was a killer.”
By the end of extra-time players were going down with cramp in the sultry conditions and the medical staff of both teams will be working overtime today and tomorrow to massage out the numerous aches and pains. “It was humid and tough, admitted Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson. “A lot of the lads were struggling in extra-time.”
Nonetheless Liverpool claimed their fourth Super Cup title after Sadio Mane cancelled out Olivier Giroud’s first-half strike and then put the Reds ahead five minutes into extra-time. Jorginho’s spot-kick took the game to sudden-death and Adrian made the crucial intervention after eight flawless penalties.
Boost for Blues
Chelsea were a vast improvement on the side that lost 4-0 to Manchester United on Sunday but the result leaves Frank Lampard still looking for his first win as Blues’ boss, and the game at home to Leicester on Sunday is more important than ever
“Chelsea’s season will be a good one if we play something like we played today,” said Lampard. “I’ve got nothing but pride in the team and the performance, and confidence in what that means.”