Liverpool beats Chelsea on penalties to lift Super Cup

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Liverpool's Adrian lifts the trophy as he and his teammates celebrate winning the UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea at the Vodafone Arena in Istanbul, Turkey on August 14, 2019. (Reuters/John Sibley)
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Liverpool's Adrian saves the decisive penalty in the penalty shootout taken by Chelsea's Tammy Abraham.(Reuters/John Sibley)
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Chelsea's English striker Tammy Abraham (C) vies for the ball with Liverpool's Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk (L) and Liverpool's Spanish goalkeeper Adrian during the UEFA Super Cup 2019 football match between FC Liverpool and FC Chelsea at Besiktas Park Stadium in Istanbul on August 14, 2019. (AFP / Bulent Kilic)
Updated 15 August 2019

Liverpool beats Chelsea on penalties to lift Super Cup

  • Backup goalkeeper Adrian saves final kick of shootout to help Liverpool win Super Cup

ISTANBUL: Adrian may never play more than a smattering of games for Liverpool, but he’ll be remembered for his “crazy week.”
The backup goalkeeper turned penalty hero with a save on the final kick of the shootout as Liverpool beat Chelsea to win the Super Cup and kick off a new European season.
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.
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.
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.
In extra time, Mane put Liverpool ahead off a Roberto Firmino cross, but Chelsea quickly responded with a penalty from Jorginho.
Stéphanie 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.
Frank Lampard’s team tormented Gomez in the opening 45 minutes, drawing him out of position and exploiting the space created. After an early chance for Salah, it was all Chelsea as Pedro hit the bar and Giroud shot at Adrian. Soon after, Pulisic and Giroud combined for the opening goal.
Chelsea emerged after halftime looking disjointed and almost immediately conceded.
After Mane scored, Liverpool nearly followed up with a second as Fabinho fired just wide, then Jordan Henderson forced a save from Kepa Arrizabalaga.
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.
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Tottenham look to seize on Chelsea’s Premier League slump

Updated 21 February 2020

Tottenham look to seize on Chelsea’s Premier League slump

LONDON: Jose Mourinho had almost reached the end of his lament about the current situation facing his weary Tottenham players when he turned his attention to their next Premier League game against a team he knows so well.

“The Chelsea players were watching this game on TV,” Mourinho said after Tottenham’s 1-0 home loss to Leipzig in the Champions League, “with nice sparkling water, with lemons and biscuits, enjoying the game.”

If only the outlook at Chelsea were so rosy.

Indeed, recent results suggest the predicament of Mourinho’s old club is more concerning than Tottenham’s.

Chelsea, somehow, find themselves still holding onto fourth place in the league heading into Saturday’s London derby against their nearest rivals in the race for Champions League qualification. That’s despite collecting only 15 points from its last 14 games, a dire run stretching back to the end of November.

At that time, Chelsea were on a six-match winning streak — its best since the team’s title-winning season of 2016-17 — and wasn’t too far behind Liverpool, the current runaway leader. Youngsters like Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori were regular starters, given their opportunity by an up-and-coming manager in Frank Lampard who is eager to promote youth. US winger Christian Pulisic was in his best form since his move from
Borussia Dortmund.

Fast forward three months and injuries are starting to bite, the kids are starting to feel the pace in a grueling season, and Lampard — a bright, eloquent and engaging manager — has been grumbling about the club’s failure to add numbers to the squad in January and his players’
wastefulness in front of goal.

“I must sound like a broken record,” a clearly frustrated Lampard said after seeing Chelsea get picked off in a 2-0 home loss to Manchester United on Monday.

Lampard’s main gripe is the team’s inability to finish off chances, which has become more pronounced with Abraham — a scorer of 13 league goals this season — currently out injured.

With Callum Hudson-Odoi and Pulisic also missing against United, Lampard played a front three of Willian, Michy Batshuayi and Pedro Rodriguez — a throwback to a few years ago and an era Chelsea fans probably thought they’d seen the back of.

Key midfielder N’Golo Kante joined Abraham on the injury list after going off early against United, while Lampard is still playing 38-year-old Willy Caballero in goal after dropping Kepa Arrizabalaga — signed in 2018 as the world’s most expensive goalkeeper.

It’s an uncertain period for Lampard, who is still a rookie in managerial terms, and Chelsea’s recent slump has seen as many as seven teams move within seven points or closer in the standings.

In that three-month period, Tottenham have won 29 points — a haul second only to Liverpool. That coincided exactly with Mourinho taking over as manager from Mauricio Pochettino.

The issue, now, is whether Spurs can keep it up, and Mourinho clearly has his doubts. With attackers Son Heung-min and Harry Kane out potentially for the rest of the season, Mourinho likened his team to someone “going to fight with a gun without bullets.”

Amid a hectic schedule that has seen his team play two FA Cup replays since the turn of the year, Mourinho said he has been forced to start with the same group of players for matches every three of four days. Erik Lamela and Tanguy Ndombele came off the bench against Leipzig having barely trained.

“I try to manage the pieces that we had,” he said.

Throw in the fact that Tottenham has a tight turnaround after the Leipzig match — Wednesday night to Saturday lunchtime — and Mourinho will feel he has genuine cause for grievance.

Yet, he is managing to scramble together results and a win at Stamford Bridge, where he previously enjoyed two separate trophy-winning spells as coach and was once revered, would see Tottenham climb above Chelsea.

Outmanoeuvring Mourinho, his former coach, in a 2-0 win at Tottenham in December was one of the few bright spots for Lampard in recent months. 

Doing so again would give him and Chelsea some much-needed breathing space in what is suddenly a bunched chase for Champions League qualification.