Let’s just say that the first half did not go to plan. Klopp experimented with the squad for this “final”, resting Firmino and Trent and playing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the wing, Mane down the middle, Salah on the opposite wing, a midfield three of Milner, Henderson and Fabinho, with a back 4 of Gomez, Matip, Virgil and Robertson obviously with Adrian in net. The game started hot with Liverpool dominating possession and creating chances along with several corner kicks. A Mane bicycle kick almost turned into a penalty but that would’ve been very harsh towards Chelsea defender, Andreas Christensen. Then all of a sudden everything changed, the midfield stopped getting balls deep which led to the press, which was hounding the Chelsea team earlier, becoming virtually non-existent. The Liverpool midfield and defense started to fuck around with the ball and pass it between themselves which obviously always ends in a turnover. The major thing that I’ve noticed is how high the midfield is playing, which allows Pulisic and Pedro acres of space in between the lines and they’ve shown how dangerous it can be by virtually dominating this game. You would think that we would know how to deal with it considering we are the masters of finding spots between the lines A.K.A what Firmino is best in the world at. On Chelsea’s side of the ball, NGolo Kante has run this game, dominating in the midfield and always picking the right pass, what a player he is absolutely generational. Aforementioned Christian Pulisic is the other I want to mention, he is dangerous as shown by his brilliant assist and equally brilliant called off goal. At the end of the first half Chelsea lead 1-0.
This game was the game of the tides changing as Liverpool got off to a blazing start once Roberto Firmino was inserted into the game for Ox. I say this almost every time I write but I seriously have no words to describe just how important he is to Liverpool. He’s not just important to the Liverpool system, he is the Liverpool system. If people still believe he’s not elite because he’s not a “lethal goalscorer” just send them the clip to this game. What a talent. On his first touch he was played in by a great ball from Fabinho and with the most delicate of touches played Sadio Mane through for the equalizer. Just after halftime Liverpool tied the game up at 1-1. Firmino wasn’t done there as he was linking with everybody, especially Fabinho, as he set up 2 more great opportunities within the first 10 minutes of the game. Not only did he completely revitalize the Liverpool offense but he did the same with both the midfield and the defense. Unlike Mane, Firmino dropped deep to pick up the ball and to help out on defense. The entire game changed when he stepped onto the pitch. Moving away from Firmino, for now, Liverpool had a fantastic opportunity around the 75th minute when they took a brilliant worked corner kick which eventually ended up at Mo Salah’s feet and he forced a great save out of Kepa. The following rebound landed at Virgil Van Dijk’s feet which was again was kept out brilliantly by Kepa. After that the tides once again changed as Chelsea kept possession for the final 15 minutes of the game and found a great chance when Mason Mount found the ball in the D and forced a great save out of Adrian. Nothing much happened and at the end of a full match the game still could not be separated at 1-1.
This meant another half an hour of football and possibly penalties. I don’t want to get too much into it but who thought it was a good idea to make the Super Cup an extra time game. A midweek game after matchweek 1 when players are trying to get fit and they make it an extra time game, bullshit if you ask me. Anyway Liverpool got off to a fast start 5 minutes into extra time as the main man Roberto Firmino picked up the ball down the left wing and brilliantly cut back to Sadio Mane who rifled his shot into the back of the net for his second and Firmino’s second assist. Unfortunately shortly after Chelsea went down and won the softest penalty ever. I thought VAR was there to correct Referee mistakes, I have absolutely no idea how it passed the VAR check. The rest of the game showed the fatigue between both teams and nobody can blame them, after 120 minutes the game was still tied but this time 2-2, which means penalties time.
Liverpool having already lost a penalty shoot out to Man City a couple weeks before, and starting goalkeeper Alisson being out through injury were most likely the underdogs in this scenario, but let’s face it, anything can happen in penalties. First to step up to the dot was none other than Roberto Firmino, he proceeded to calmly and confidently slot it into the bottom corner. Capping off the obvious choice for Liverpool MOTM, having come on at halftime and completely changed the entire output of the game it was the easiest choice in history and should be completely unanimous. Jorginho, having already slotted a penalty in the game, stepped up after and hop stepped his way into tying the penalty shoot out at 1-1. Next up was Fabinho, who struggled with cramp not 3 minutes before stepping up, Fabinho is an experienced penalty taker having been the #1 for Monaco, calmly put it into the corner as Kepa could only stand and watch. On the Chelsea side Ross Barkley stepped up, the #1 penalty taker when on the pitch and showed why as he put it top left corner. 2-2. Substitute Divock Origi was next and took an inch perfect penalty as Kepa got a glove on it but not enough to keep it out. Lampard favorite Mason Mount stepped up and followed after Ross Barkley and managed to put it even more top left corner. 3-3. Extra time substitute and set piece specialist Trent Alexander-Arnold walked up with the same confident face he always has on and like Mount followed after Divock with an even more inch perfect shot to the bottom left that was once again almost saved by Kepa. Fullback for fullback as Chelsea left back Emerson stepped up and simply put it down the middle past the diving Adrian. 4-4, everyone has scored. Up steps Mo Salah, the Liverpool #1 penalty taker. This guy carried more pressure than anyone stepping up to the spot, not only cuz he’s the 5th taker but also because of how good he is. With the talent he has comes the pressure to perform, and perform he did, sending Kepa the wrong way and taking the lead 5-4. This puts that same pressure on the young 21 year old striker Tammy Abraham, in a European final, albeit not really. Abraham stepped up and really didn’t seem that confident and put his shot right down the middle onto Adrians foot. Liverpool win the Super Cup 5-4 in penalties after the 2-2 draw. All in all the performance wasn’t fantastic and they didn’t play as well as they would have liked for the majority of the game, but they found a way through it and ended up lifting the trophy, and at the end of the day that’s the goal. Now it’s time to rest until Saturday when Liverpool face off against Southampton. I will Catch Ya Then!
My twitter is @LFCeltics