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Adrian saved from Tammy Abraham as Liverpool beat Chelsea 5-4 on penalties to win the first all-English UEFA Super Cup following a 2-2 draw in Istanbul.
Olivier Giroud gave Frank Lampard’s side a deserved first-half lead on Wednesday, but the introduction of Roberto Firmino as a half-time substitute changed the game for the Reds.
Firmino quickly set up Mane for the equaliser and, in the first period of extra time, the Senegal star smashed home from his team-mate’s pass again before Jorginho equalised from the penalty spot.
But it was the European champions who triumphed in the shoot-out, Alisson’s deputy Adrian denying Abraham with his right leg to secure victory for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
What does it mean? Another Istanbul comeback for the Reds
Liverpool fans already had happy memories of Istanbul, the city where they completed an incredible comeback against AC Milan to win the 2005 Champions League under Rafael Benitez. This victory was not as dramatic, nor as important, but helped make up for any lingering upset over losing on penalties to Manchester City in the Community Shield.
UEFA must surely rethink this showpiece using extra time rather than going straight to penalties after 90 minutes, although female referee Stephanie Frappart performed well in making history.
Returning Kante boosts Blues
N’Golo Kante was only fit for the bench in Sunday’s humbling at Manchester United but his selection from the start made a world of difference in the Blues’ midfield. His energy unsettled Liverpool, the World Cup winner snaffling possession back for his side in the build up to Giroud’s opening goal.
Oxlade-Chamberlain short of impact
Leaving out Firmino was a surprise call from Klopp, who rectified his error at the break by withdrawing the uninvolved Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The Englandmidfielder, who missed most of last season through injury, made only 13 passes during the opening 45 minutes.
Key Opta facts
– Only Barcelona and AC Milan (five) have won the UEFA Super Cup more often than Liverpool (four).
– Chelsea have now been runners-up in three consecutive UEFA Super Cup appearances (2012, 2013 and 2019) – only Barcelona and Sevilla (four each) have been runners-up more times.
– Olivier Giroud has scored 12 goals in 16 appearances in European competition for Chelsea, compared to just seven goals in 49 domestic games for the Blues.
– Sadio Mane became the first African player to score in the UEFA Super Cup since Frederic Kanoute for Sevilla against Barcelona in 2006.
Both sides return to Premier League action after an energy-sapping encounter. Liverpool’s cluster of former Saints stars head to Southampton on Saturday, with Chelsea hosting Leicester City the following day.