MATCH REPORT

Match Report

Super Cup match report: Liverpool 2 Chelsea 2 (5-4 on pens)

As in Prague six years ago, an enthralling 2-2 draw was followed by a penalty shoot-out defeat that means there are not Chelsea hands on the Super Cup tonight.

Tammy Abraham’s decisive spot-kick was saved, but it was the young striker who had helped us equalise in extra-time when he was brought down by Adrian for a penalty Jorginho rolled in.

Sadio Mane had scored early in the second half and then the first period of the additional 30 minutes, turning around a lead given to us by Olivier Giroud before the break.

An engrossing two hours of football hadn’t been able to separate last season’s European winners prior to penalties. Chelsea were excellent from the off and deservedly went ahead on 36 minutes when Giroud calmly converted a clever pass from Christian Pulisic, was making his full debut.

The American had a fine goal of his own disallowed for offside, and the Reds then levelled straight after half-time when Mane scrambled in from a yard out.

Before extra-time, Kepa produced a quite remarkable double save - the second stop somehow thwarting Virgil van Dijk – and Mason Mount scored only to see the flag raised.

Mane gave Liverpool the lead but Jorginho quickly made no mistake from 12 yards as the contest continued to swing from end to end before penalties decided it in the Merseysiders' favour. 

But make no mistake: this was a hugely impressive Chelsea performance that suggests Frank Lampard and his charges are firmly on the right path. Indeed, it could so easily have been the Blues returning from the Turkish capital with silverware.

HIGHLIGHTS: Chelsea v Liverpool - Super Cup Final (N)

The boss made three changes from Sunday, bringing Pulisic and Giroud into the team and selecting the fit-again N’Golo Kante. The shape shifted to a 4-3-3, with Jorginho nominally at the base of the midfield. Willian and Toni Rudiger were subs.

Jurgen Klopp left Trent Alexander-Arnold, Georginio Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino on the bench.

Referee Stephanie Frappart became the first female to officiate a major European men’s match. She was in charge of Chelsea Women’s win over Fiorentina last November.

Pulisic nearly had a clear sight of goal inside three minute, benefitting from good work from Giroud, but Joel Matip was across to cover. The Liverpool defender then had an impact down the other end, heading straight at Kepa after Andreas Christensen blocked a Mane bicycle-kick.

Kante was immediately in the thick of things, winning the ball back and driving us forward. There was no sign he was anything but fully fit, producing a midfield masterclass all night from the position he was deployed in last term.

Tonight the tempo was set high. It barely relented. Kurt Zouma stretched to stop a Mohamed Salah shot threaten Kepa, and we immediately broke with Pedro curling wide from 20 yards.

On the quarter-hour mark, Salah got away dangerously down the right, but Kepa stood his ground and reacted low to save one handed.

Back Chelsea came. Jorginho, from near our penalty spot, picked out Pedro. He plucked the pass out of the Istanbul sky and fed Giroud in space, who angled his effort beyond the far post.

A Pedro cross than had Adrian anxious on the stretch, and our Super Cup specialist became the latest Blue to be kept out by the woodwork midway through the first half. Giroud, a tour de force up front, managed to slip a pass back to the Spaniard from the edge of the box. He drifted into a similar position from where Emerson hit the bar on Sunday and was equally misfortunate, beating Adrian but not the frame of the goal.

Giroud bicycle-kicked wide and Pulisic probably hoped a team-mate would gamble on his low centre between keeper and defence.

We had a couple of escapes from corners around the half-hour. Van Dijk nodded over with Kepa beaten, and then Mane, completely unmarked, had the pace taken off his header by Matip.

Chelsea’s response was impressive. Kante had the stadium wooing with some incredible skill, and then Pedro so nearly released Mateo Kovacic who was denied a maiden Chelsea strike by an outstretched Adrian arm nipping the ball off his toes.

However, we did net a deserved opening goal on 36 minutes. Again Kante was central, winning the ball back and finding Pulisic. His and Giroud’s movement confused the Liverpool defence, and the American’s pass was inch-perfect, diagonal and weighted to allow the striker to finish first time past Adrian.