Liverpool and Chelsea meet in the first all-English UEFA Super Cup final.
Champions League winners Liverpool won the Super Cup 5-4 on penalties against Chelsea on Wednesday after the game ended 2-2 following extra-time. With the first nine penalties, all converted, Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham saw his effort blocked by the legs of Liverpool keeper Adrian to hand victory to Juergen Klopp’s side in the annual clash between Champions League and Europa League winners.
While the Super Cup does not carry anywhere near the prestige of either of UEFA’s two season-long competitions, the first-ever all-English affair was a good quality encounter played in hot, muggy conditions.
After Champions League holder Liverpool and Europa League winner Chelsea finished extra time at 2-2, Adrian made the crucial save with his leg to deny Tammy Abraham and give his team a 5-4 win on penalties in a game which finished after midnight Turkish time on Thursday. It was a dramatic turnaround after Adrian fouled Abraham to concede a penalty in extra time.
Adrian was signed just nine days before as backup for Alisson, but when the Brazilian injured himself last Friday in the English Premier League opener, he was thrust into the spotlight first as a substitute, then as a Super Cup starter. “Welcome to Liverpool,” Adrian said. “It’s been a crazy week. I’m really happy for the team, I’m happy to play for Liverpool and happy for the fans.”
The 32-year-old Spanish goalkeeper was a free agent after leaving West Ham, where he didn’t play a single Premier League game last season and last appeared in an FA Cup loss to lowly AFC Wimbledon. Even before the shootout, Adrian kept Liverpool in the game with a 113th-minute save from Mason Mount to stop Chelsea winning in extra time. Still, he’s expected to relinquish his Liverpool starting spot to Alisson when the Brazilian returns from his calf injury in a few weeks.
Liverpool played its second penalty shootout in three games, having lost to Manchester City for the Community Shield on Aug. 4. Chelsea took the lead in the 36th minute when Christian Pulisic exposed poor positioning by Liverpool right-back Joe Gomez to pass for Olivier Giroud to shoot low past Adrian.
Liverpool stormed back after the break, Fabinho’s 48th-minute pass opening up the Chelsea defense and leaving Sadio Mane with an easy finish off Mohamed Salah’s flick.
Stephanie Frappart became the first female referee to oversee a major men’s European final. After just six minutes, she denied Liverpool a penalty when Sadio Mane’s overhead kick hit Andreas Christensen’s arm, which seemed to be out of a strictly “natural” position. There was no full review by the video assistant referee system.
Twice Chelsea put the ball into the net through Pulisic and substitute Mount, but Frappart and her assistants ruled both efforts out for clear offsides.
Just as in its 4-0 loss to Manchester United on Sunday, Chelsea played a strong first half before slumping after halftime, but this time its mistakes weren’t nearly as harshly punished.
The Chelsea goalkeeper made a spectacular double save to keep Liverpool at bay in the 75th, diverting Virgil van Dijk’s shot onto the bar after substitute Abraham cleared Fabinho’s shot off the line with his first touch of the game.
Liverpool won its fourth Super Cup and the first by an English team since the Reds beat CSKA Moscow in 2005. Chelsea has now lost three Super Cup games in the last eight years, twice with Lampard as captain and once with him as a coach.