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Liverpool 2-2 Chelsea (5-4 on pens): 5 Hits and Flops

ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
3.94K   //    15 Aug 2019, 12:56 IST

Adrian celebrates with teammates after thwarting Tammy Abraham from the spot during their shootout win
Adrian celebrates with teammates after thwarting Tammy Abraham from the spot during their shootout win

Adrian was an unlikely hero on his first Liverpool start, producing the all-important penalty save in the shootout to thwart Tammy Abraham and secure the UEFA Super Cup trophy for Jurgen Klopp's men on a humid evening in Istanbul. 

In an end-to-end affair, Olivier Giroud broke the deadlock with a clever finish after 36 minutes, during a first-half where Chelsea were clearly the better side, playing with an intensity we didn't see during their 4-0 opening weekend defeat by Manchester United. 

But immediately after the break, the Reds responded. Roberto Firmino replaced Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and within minutes, helped create their equaliser which was tucked home by Sadio Mane after scrappy moments in the box. 

Kepa Arrizabalaga made an excellent double save at 1-1, sending the game to extra-time but Spain's number one could do nothing to deny Mane's thunderous effort five minutes after the restart.

Chelsea found a lifeline in the form of Jorginho's composed finish from a dubious penalty decision, after Adrian was adjudged to have upended substitute Tammy Abraham. Replays showed that contact was minimal, if at all, but VAR didn't overrule Stephanie Frappart's decision.


Ultimately though, it proved poetic justice as Tammy saw his effort saved and Adrian quickly being mobbed after a tense shootout finished with the Reds lifting more European silverware. With all of that in mind, here's a look at five hits and flops from an intriguing encounter:


#5 Flop: Andreas Christensen

Christensen started purposefully but as time wore on, became increasingly weary and beaten too easily
Christensen started purposefully but as time wore on, became increasingly weary and beaten too easily

This one was harder than it may seem to choose. Truthfully, there were not many players who outright performed poorly - or played long enough - to warrant a place on the flop section in this case.

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain formed part of my thoughts, though with just 45 minutes on his first start for 16 months in an interchanging role in Liverpool's attacking trident, empathy was needed. 

So instead I went with Christensen, who started purposefully but just like many teammates, faded as the match wore on and the Reds got themselves back into it. He made three clearances, won possession twice, produced one block and completed tackle while only Pedro (96.4%) had better pass success rate than the 23-year-old. 

However, questions over his physicality and positioning were again a theme in this match. Beaten too easily whenever Liverpool had a set-piece, you could tell Virgil van Dijk relished their matchup in the box and he didn't do enough to disrupt the Dutchman's rhythm either. 

Firmino's introduction to begin the second half caused a frenzy as the Christensen-Zouma defensive pairing were being shifted all over the pitch. The Brazilian twisted and turned his way goalwards, whilst Salah and goalscorer Mane were relishing the spaces in-behind to exploit. 

Replaced with five minutes of normal time to play, perhaps it was Frank Lampard making a conservative decision as they host Leicester in the league on Sunday. He didn't play poorly but this was far from a faultless defensive display. 

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