Liverpool Beat Christian Pulisic, Chelsea on Penalties, Win 2019 UEFA Super Cup

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2019

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - AUGUST 14:  Adrian of Liverpool reacts after Sadio Mane scored a goal in extra time to make it 2-1 during the UEFA Super Cup match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Vodafone Park on August 14, 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Liverpool lifted the 2019 UEFA Super Cup after beating Chelsea 5-4 on penalties following a 2-2 draw after extra time at BJK Vodafone Park in Istanbul on Wednesday night.

Chelsea substitute Tammy Abraham saw his effort saved by the trailing foot of Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian after Liverpool converted all five of their spot-kicks in the shootout.

Before penalties were needed, Sadio Mane scored twice after being teed up by substitute Roberto Firmino on both occasions, while Chelsea got goals from Olivier Giroud and Jorginho. The latter scored from the penalty spot after Adrian was judged to have brought down Abraham in the box.

Ultimately Adrian, playing in place of injured Alisson Becker in the Liverpool goal, proved the hero as the Champions League holders eventually saw off last season's Europa League winners.

Chelsea bossed the first half playing a slick and enterprising brand of football that had Liverpool hopelessly chasing shadows between the midfield and forward lines.

A central trio of Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho and N'Golo Kante owned the ball and found easy targets to aim for thanks to intelligent running off the ball by Pedro, Olivier Giroud and Christian Pulisic.

Pedro went close first after being played in at the end of a typically stylish move, only for the Spaniard's shot to glance off the crossbar and to safety. It was a fortunate escape for the Reds, but luck wasn't on the side of the Blues, who endured similar misadventures at Old Trafford:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Chelsea have now hit the frame of the goal three times in their two competitive games under Frank Lampard. It really is Woodwork F.C. 💥 https://t.co/m7lr6HVAtw

Unlike against United, Chelsea were eventually rewarded for playing the more eye-catching fare. The breakthrough came nine minutes before the break when yet another classy exchange of passes saw Pulisic release Giroud, who calmly slotted in with his left foot:

Bleacher Report Live @brlive

Pulisic to Giroud puts Chelsea ahead 🔥 #SuperCup ➡️ https://t.co/QR6vHBYAqG https://t.co/BRWtYI66vY

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

How well does Christian Pulisic do here?! Olivier Giroud scores in Europe again after being set-up perfectly by the new signing 👏 https://t.co/d2XKYKAjSV

Chelsea continued to baffle Liverpool with astute work from midfield. Kovacic took care of the ball, while Jorginho produced some exquisite long-range passes and Kante sauntered Liverpool with an uncharacteristic cavalier swagger.

bet365 @bet365

Players to nutmeg James Milner on the European stage: - Lionel Messi - N'Golo Kante 🐐🐐 #SuperCup #CFC https://t.co/NXnOi4kOSW

The Blues were asking uncomfortable questions of Liverpool's normally excellent defence. There were no answers to Chelsea's own defensive woes, though, with the Reds equalising three minutes after the restart when Mane prodded home from close range.

It was a goal made by substitute Roberto Firmino. The Brazilian had come off the bench to replace Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and immediately offered Liverpool a natural focal point to play up to and around.

Firmino dropping off the front was causing havoc between Chelsea centre-backs Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen. Liverpool's No. 9 peeled off to release Mane with another pinpoint first-time pass, but the move ended with Jordan Henderson's deflected shot dropping safely into the hands of Kepa Arrizabalaga in the Chelsea goal.

Statman Dave @StatmanDave

Roberto Firmino has created as many chances vs. Chelsea (1) as Mohamed Salah, Sadio Manè, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain & Andy Robertson. He’s been on four ten minutes. 🇧🇷 https://t.co/PsEBDtGrs7

Lampard rang the changes inside the final 20 minutes, introducing Tammy Abraham for Giroud and Mason Mount for the impressive Pulisic. The latter had shown enough pace and technique to believe he can have a hugely positive impact on Chelsea's season.

As good an impression as Pulisic made, Liverpool were dominating the second half. The Reds should have been in front when Salah and Van Dijk drew an astonishing double save from Kepa:

Bleacher Report Live @brlive

Kepa saves 🤯 https://t.co/wsb8UKf7Ip

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

That is incredible, Kepa Arrizabalaga! 🤯 The Chelsea keeper pulls off two brilliant saves 👏 https://t.co/1xdQ1B3aaz

The Blues' attempts to reassert themselves saw Jorginho play in Mount with another sumptuous pass. Despite a fine first-time finish, Mount's effort was cancelled out by the offside flag.

A similar story played out at the other end when Salah teed up Mane, but his effort went inches wide, albeit in vain with the flag raised once again.

Both teams regained the finishing touch in extra time, with Liverpool going in front first thanks to a replica of the Firmino and Mane link-up:

Bleacher Report Live @brlive

.@LFCUSA get their second with another Firmino to Mané finish 🔥 ➡️ https://t.co/QR6vHBYAqG https://t.co/FURJYhhgKd

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

Brilliant finish 💥 Sadio Mané fires Liverpool ahead in extra-time! https://t.co/2rZ9XYnTpl

Moments later, after Abraham had been sent sprawling, Jorginho's stuttered run-up fooled Adrian and saw Chelsea level from 12 yards:

Bleacher Report Live @brlive

Jorginho with a cool finish on the PK and it's all level again 🔥 ➡️ https://t.co/QR6vHBYAqG https://t.co/t5FOf0mnRk

Sensing the moment was ripe for a winner, Lampard sent on Ross Barkley, who threaded a pass for Pedro to cross for Abraham. The young striker's scuffed finish drifted agonisingly wide.

Abraham and Mount combined brilliantly in the second half of extra time, but Adrian produced a fine stop to palm away the latter's effort.

Seven flawless spot-kicks put the pressure on Emerson Palmieri to keep Chelsea on level terms. The left-back kept his cool with Adrian going the wrong way.

Salah made no mistake in response to make it five-for-five for Liverpool and give Abraham the responsibility of keeping the Blues in it or losing it. Adrian saved with his feet to give Liverpool yet another piece of European silverware.

Liverpool had shown a now all-too-familiar knack for finding a way to get over the line. Meanwhile, even in defeat, Chelsea regained some pride after Sunday's hammering in Manchester.


What's Next?

Liverpool return to domestic duty for a trip to Southampton on Saturday, while Chelsea host Leicester City at Stamford Bridge a day later.