Liverpool 2 Chelsea 2: Adrian proves to be a Super hero

Liverpool's goalkeeper Adrian celebrates victory with the trophy.
Liverpool's goalkeeper Adrian celebrates victory with the trophy.
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Back-up goalkeeper Adrian was the shoot-out hero as Liverpool once again tasted continental glory in Istanbul by overcoming Frank Lampard’s Chelsea in the Super Cup.

The Turkish city will always have a special place in the hearts of Reds fans after the Champions League final in 2005, when Rafael Benitez’s side snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against AC Milan.

Liverpool, just like that memorable night 14 years again, emerged triumphant on spot-kicks as recently signed reserve keeper Adrian denied Tammy Abraham as Jurgen Klopp’s side won the shoot-out 5-4 having settled for 2-2 after extra time.

It was a dream first start for the former West Ham stopper, who only arrived at Anfield last week and was thrust into the starting line-up by the Bosphorus following Alisson Becker’s calf injury.

Adrian wrote his name into Liverpool folklore at Besiktas Park, where history was made as Stephanie Frappart became the first female official to take charge of a major UEFA men’s competition event.

The French referee - assisted ably by Manuela Nicolosi and Michelle O’Neill of the Republic of Ireland - oversaw an enjoyable first all-English Super Cup, in which Chelsea deservedly went ahead as Olivier Giroud slammed home after Pedro hit the frame of the goal.

Christian Pulisic provided the assist and the offside flag prevented him scoring a classy second, allowing Liverpool to regroup.

Substitute Roberto Firmino showed great awareness to lay off to Sadio Mane as Klopp’s men levelled minutes after half-time, with Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga pulling off a fine double save to keep the Champions League holders at bay.

Substitute Mason Mount saw a goal ruled out for offside as the match went into extra time, which was just five minutes old when Mane rifled home impressively.

But Chelsea were not to be denied as referee Frappart pointed to the spot, with Jorginho - or ‘Jorghino’ as his shirt read - coolly slotting home after the decision was cleared by the video assistant referee.

Adrian was guilty of bringing down Abraham for the penalty, but secured hero status by denying the substitute with the final spot-kick of the shootout.

It was an end-to-end occasion in Istanbul, where Mane proved an early nuisance and Mohamed Salah was denied by Kepa.

Chelsea soon upped the ante as Giroud struck across the face of goal and Pedro hit the bar.

Virgil Van Dijk headed over but Lampard’s side were in the ascendancy and Adrian did superbly to smother Mateo Kovacic’s effort following an exquisite Pedro pass.

But Alisson’s back-up would be beaten in the 36th minute as the Blues showed the kind of cutting edge that was sorely lacking in Sunday’s 4-0 loss at Manchester United.

N’Golo Kante did well to get the ball to Pulisic, who dragged the Liverpool defence out of position before sliding in Giroud to fire home.

It was a fine goal that Pulisic looked to have added to four minutes later, only for his superb effort to be ruled out for offside.

Klopp turned to his bench at half-time in a bid to change the game and it reaped immediate rewards. Firmino replaced Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and showed impressive intelligence when meeting Fabinho’s ball over the top to direct into the path of Mane to level.

Fabinho slammed wide and Jordan Henderson saw a deflected effort saved, but Chelsea regained their composure.

Set-pieces looked to be Liverpool’s best bet of scoring and Kepa had to be alert to deny Salah before pushing a Van Dijk effort onto the bar in the 75th minute.

Mount saw a goal ruled out for offside as the match went into extra time, which was five minutes old when Mane met a return pass from Firmino with a strike off the underside of the bar.

Adrian denied Abraham with his feet as Chelsea looked to level, but the substitute would soon get the better of the Liverpool goalkeeper. The Spaniard was adjudged to have brought him down and, after a VAR check, Jorginho coolly scored.

It should have been 3-2 to Chelsea minutes later, but Abraham somehow conspired to drag his shot across the face of goal.

Adrian denied Mount in the second half of extra time and Pedro curled just wide, with Mount forcing another save out of the Liverpool goalkeeper as the match went to penalties.

The first nine spot-kicks all found the net, before Abraham was denied by Adrian.