Liverpool 2-2 Chelsea (5-4 on pens): 5 Talking Points and Tactical Analysis
Liverpool edged past Chelsea in a dramatic penalty shoot-out to clinch the UEFA Super Cup in Istanbul. The game had a good ebb and flow to it throughout with both teams trading blows from the outset.
The Champions League winners started the brighter of the two sides but were quickly pegged back by the Blues, who mounted several attacks in an incredible first-half display.
The Europa League champions finally unlocked the Reds’ door in the 36th minute when Olivier Giroud slotted home. There were no further goals in the 1st half and Liverpool trailed 1-0 at the break.
However, Jurgen Klopp’s decision to bring on Roberto Firmino paid immediate dividends as the Brazilian set up his strike partner, Sadio Mane to bundle the ball past Kepa Arrizabalaga just three minutes after half time.
The match went into extra time as both teams were deadlocked at the end of ninety minutes. Liverpool drew first blood in that period when Mane confidently finished past Kepa in the 95th minute. However, the Reds’ lead lasted only six minutes as Jorginho’s penalty restored parity.
The penalty shoot-out saw each of the first nine attempts rippling the net before Tammy Abraham’s shot was saved by Adrian.
Here is a look at the five talking points from the game:
#5 Chelsea run Liverpool ragged in the first half
The 2019 UEFA Super Cup was a historic occasion as two English teams were fighting for the prize for the first time. However, both sides had a lot more at stake come the game.
For Liverpool, the game represented a chance to lay down an early-season marker and signal their intention of conquering all fronts. Chelsea, meanwhile, had the opportunity to hand Frank Lampard some silverware at the start of his tenure.
The game, in consonance with the enormous stakes, lived up to the billing with a sizzling first half. Though the Reds started the better of the two sides, the Blues seized control midway through the half and propelled themselves into the ascendancy.
Thereafter, Chelsea swarmed Liverpool all over the pitch with their attackers not allowing the former’s defenders a moment’s peace on the ball. In addition, the midfield, buoyed by the returning N’Golo Kante, imposed itself on the game and kept things ticking swiftly through the middle.
However, the most impressive aspect of the Blues’ game-play was their offensive movement. The trio of Christian Pulisic, Olivier Giroud and Pedro caused the Reds’ much-vaunted defence a lot of problems and expertly created space for each other.
One such move led to the goal with Pulisic grabbing the ball in between the lines, dragging defenders towards him and then releasing Giroud. The Frenchman finished past Adrian with aplomb to hand Lampard’s side the lead.
On Sunday, Chelsea started equally well against Manchester United but dug their grave a touch by gifting the Red Devils a cheap penalty. However, on Wednesday, the Blues ensured that they strung together a cohesive first-half display and in the process, they ran the 2018-19 Champions League winners completely ragged.