By Kunle Adedoyin
Liverpool on Wednesday had to come back from behind to win the 2019 UEFA Super Cup at the Beşiktaş Park in Istanbul, Turkey.
The Champions League defending champions defeated Chelsea 5-4 on penalties after coming from a goal down and ending the exciting and exhilarating 180 minutes with a 2-2 draw.
The 2019 Super Cup win of Liverpool was at the same pitch of its famous 2005 UEFA Champions League title win over AC Milan, also on penalties.
This is the first time in 14 years an English club has won the UEFA Super Cup.
The triumph was Liverpool’s fourth in the competition, while Chelsea has the dismal record of losing three consecutive outings in the Super Cup finals.
Chelsea manager, Frank Lampard, has now lost the Super Cup final as both player and manager, captaining two unsuccessful Chelsea teams in both 2012 and 2013 before this latest loss.
A game which made history for its all-female referee crew, Chelsea went for an experienced lineup, starting N’golo Kante and Olivier Giroud in midfield and attack respectively.
Liverpool, however, handed a rare start to injury-plagued attacking midfielder, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but rested both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino.
Chelsea winger, Pedro, came closest to breaking the deadlock when he hit the bar on 22 minutes.
Last season’s Europa League winners, Chelsea opened scoring through in the 37th minute Olivier Giroud’s placed shot and a Jorginho penalty. The Frenchman was picked out by Pulisic’s defence-splitting pass and the 32-year-old dispatched beyond Adrian, deputizing in Liverpool goal for injured Alisson, for a deserved 1-0 lead.
Pulisic, tipped as departed Eden Hazard’s heir, scored a Hazard-like solo goal, cutting in from the wing before finding the bottom corner, but the 20-year-old American was however offside.
Jurgen Klopp introduced Firmino to spark a disjointed Liverpool attack after the interval and the Brazilian had an instant impact, providing the assist for Sadio Mane to equalize on 48 minutes.
The Senegalese forward was on hand to bundle home at the second attempt after Firmino had deflected Fabinho’s lofted pass into his path for his first goal of the season.
The game went into a lull afterwards with Liverpool dominant, but it was not until the 75th minute before the UCL winners would work Kepa Arizabalaga.
The Chelsea keeper made a double save from Salah and van Dijk to keep the score level, and the need for extra time.
Liverpool took the lead five minutes into extra time, through Mane. The 26-year old, again, had Firmino to thank as the striker exchanged passes with Mane who placed his shot into the roof of the net.
Liverpool goalkeeper, Adrian, deputizing for the injured Alison, conceeded a penalty after rashly bringing dowm Tammy Abraham, and Jorginho converted for a 2-2 scoreline.
Chelsea would dominate the second period of extra time, Mason Mount denied while Pedro missed the bottom corner by inches.
Tammy Abraham missed the decisive tenth penalty kick in the shootout, Adrian saving with his feet to claim the UEFA Super Cup for Liverpool. –