The first ever English Super Bowl and Liverpool without Alison
The big Euro Cup season in the Old World traditionally starts with a duel for the UEFA Super Cup, in which the winners of the Champions League and the Europa League meet. Previously, these matches were always held in Monaco, but then this tradition went down in history. In 2019, the meeting was received by Istanbul's Vodafon Park.
And the battle for the prestigious trophy had two English teams - Chelsea and Liverpool. However, the fact that the Super Cup at the end of the season will surely go to the United Kingdom, became known in advance, because only the British teams reached the finals of both European cup tournaments. Thus, for the first time in the history of the UEFA Super Cup, two English teams challenged.
At the same time, Liverpool was a clear favorite of the confrontation. And it's not even that Jurgen Klopp’s wards won the Champions League just a couple of months ago, but in the serious losses of the opponent. Eden Hazard, David Louis and Gary Cahill left Chelsea in the summer. Londoners had to forget about newcomers because of the transfer ban from UEFA.
Now, Frank Lampard has a difficult task - to keep the weakened team on top of English football. However, in the first match, Chelsea conceded four unanswered goals from Manchester United. Despite this, Lampard emphasized that his wards intend to win the Super Bowl.
“Liverpool” at the start of the season managed to take part in one match for the trophy with the prefix “super”. In the Super Bowl of England, the Merseysiders lost in the penalty shootout to Manchester City, but then in the first round of the Premier League expectedly defeated Norwich - 4: 1. True, in this game the team of Jürgen Klopp lost Alison Becker due to an injury for a month and a half. And already in training immediately before the Super Bowl, Nabi Keita received damage. Chelsea also could not do without losses, and was left without a key player - Ngolo Kante.
However, as a result, the Frenchman still appeared in the starting lineup, apparently his damage was not as serious as originally expected. At Liverpool, Alison was expectedly replaced by an experienced Adrian who had moved from West Ham.
Weak Liverpool and bright Chelsea
“Liverpool” as a favorite began the match more actively and in the first minutes created a dangerous moment. After filing from the flank, Sadio Mane tried to punch through himself and the ball fell into Andreas Christensen’s hand, but the female referee Stephanie Frappar, who served the match, did not show the “point”, considering that the Dane simply did not manage to change his hand position.
But the advantage of the Reds quickly faded away. It seemed that they would act from a position of strength, but Chelsea unexpectedly seized the initiative. Lampard’s wards underwent beautiful quick attacks that perplexed the Liverpool defense. The four defenders of the team regularly made mistakes and allowed opponents to break into the resulting gaps. At the same time, the supporting zone of the Merseysiders also noticeably “sagged”. Kant reigned there in the first half.
As a result, Chelsea created one moment after another, and for the time being the current owner of the Champions League was frankly lucky. For example, when Pedro Rodriguez, being in someone else's penalty box in a lethal position, shot into the crossbar. Or when Adrian at the last moment knocked the ball out from under Mateo Kovacic’s feet.
And yet, closer to the break, the Londoners naturally opened an account. Olivier Giroud after another cutting pass of the team's newcomer Christian Pulisic broke into the shock position and shot into the far corner past the goalkeeper. Then the US midfielder scored the second goal, but the line judge rightly registered an offside position.
And what about Liverpool? Klopp's wards responded with just a couple of inaccurate shots on the corner. With the exception of the first minutes, they completely failed the first half. Forwards Merseysiders were forced to fall behind the ball almost to the center of the field. At the same time, the team was provided with excellent support, because about 70% of the stands were fans of Liverpool.
Arrisabalagi's miracle save and Klopp's successful replacement
However, Klopp was not going to be defeated and in the locker room had a serious conversation with his wards. In addition, the German threw Roberto Firmino into battle instead of the absolutely inconspicuous Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
And the replacement worked after a few minutes. The Brazilian was with the ball right in front of Kepa Arrisabalaga and managed to make an effective discount on Mane. Sadio calmly turned the shell on target. True, the goalkeeper tried to prove that the Senegalese struck him on the hands, but Frappar did not believe the goalkeeper.
And the Liverpool could immediately come forward. First, the ball passed near the post after Fabinho's shot from outside the penalty area, and then Kepa only took the ball at the last moment, kneeling when Jordan Henderson came in from afar.
Then the intensity of emotions from the actions of the Merseysiders slightly decreased, the game leveled off and calmed down. Both coaches began to carry out replacements. Klopp released Jorginho Weinaldum on the field, and Lampard - two young football players Tammy Abaraham and Mason Mount.
And 15 minutes before the final whistle, Arisabalaga made a real save of the evening. During the corner, he saved Chelsea twice: he managed to fold and fend off a shot of Salah in the far corner, and then transfer the projectile to the crossbar after van Dyck's strike on finishing.
Perhaps this was the last moment for Liverpool to avoid extra time. True, Chelsea in the end was a bit more active, and Mount even managed to score, but the judge canceled the goal of the Londoners a second time due to an offside position.
Two goals in extra time and Adrian's fateful save
If in the main time the teams were no longer able to score, then at the very beginning of the extra Liverpool finally came forward. At the 94th minute, the team had an excellent attack on the left flank, and Firmino performed a perfect cross into the penalty area on Mane, who sent a shell into the net with a rebound from the crossbar. By the way, the Senegalese became the fourth player after Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Diego Costa, who managed to double in the match for the Super Bowl over the past five years.
Chelsea immediately answered with its dangerous moment: a fresh Abraham with a hanging Van Dyck on his shoulders broke into a rendezvous with Adrian, but failed to outplay the Spaniard.
However, after just a couple of minutes, the Liverpool goalkeeper played much worse. In the penalty area, he did not notice Abraham jumping out from behind his back and knocked him down. Frappard, having consulted with the assistants, nevertheless awarded a penalty, but Jorginho realized it in cold blood.
Not only that, active Abraham could soon lead Chelsea forward, but, closing Pedro's backache from the front, he did not get into the far corner.
In the second additional half closer to the victory there were also blue ones who created two dangerous moments at once in a couple of minutes, but after Mount mounted a powerful shot into the far corner, Liverpool saved Adrian, and Pedro, aiming at the near “six”, didn’t get into the target.
As a result, the fate of the title was determined in a penalty shootout. Until the final blow, the players were accurate, Kepa twice guessed the direction of the ball’s flight and even touched it with his hand, but luck did not smile at the Londoners.
But the young Abraham, who was very cool to replace, did not realize his attempt with the very last blow. The attacker struck weakly almost in the center, and Adrian repelled the shell with his foot.
Thus, Liverpool still won the UEFA Super Cup for the fourth time in its history. Chelsea can only thank for a decent game. Many feared that Lampard's wards would be defeated, but they gave the favorite a real fight.