Three key talking points from Liverpool’s win over Chelsea

Liverpool vs Chelsea

Liverpool and Chelsea went head-to-head on Wednesday for the 2019 European Super Cup.

Atletico Madrid were the holders of the cup before Wednesday’s game.

The last English side to lift the European Super Cup were Liverpool in 2005, after they beat AC Milan in the Champions League final.

Chelsea have been in the final pretty recently, in 2012 and 2013. But the Blues lost on both occasions, vs Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich.

The last and only time Chelsea won the ESC was in 1998, when they beat Real Madrid 1-0.

Both sides posted pretty strong starting elevens on Wednesday, but Chelsea’s looked to utilise more of their regular starters.

Liverpool left both Roberto Firmino and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the bench, with Sadio Mane, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mohamed Salah instead forming the front three.

Chelsea would also give a competitive debut to Christian Pulisic.

Three key talking points

The opening 20 minutes of the ESC tie were somewhat scrappy, with neither outfit creating too much.

Chelsea would have the first big chance of the game, as Pedro struck the post in the 21st minute.

The Blues then took the lead through Oliver Giroud, before Sadio Mane equalised for Liverpool just three minutes into the second-half.

Mane added his second in the 95th minute, before Jorginho made it 2-2 in the 100th minute.

It would ultimately be Liverpool who came away victorious, after Adrian saved Tammy Abraham’s penalty as the Reds won the shootout 5-4.

Here are three key talking points from Wednesday’s game.

1. How will Liverpool cope without Alisson?

Liverpool boasted the best defensive record in the Premier League last season.

They let in just 22 goals in 38 games, one less than Manchester City.

One of the main reasons for that was new signing, Alisson.

While he is occasionally sloppy on the ball, the Brazilian is a top shot-stopper and is largely good with his feet.

However, Alisson would be injured in Liverpool’s PL opener vs Norwich last Friday.

He is now expected to be out for ‘a few weeks’.

Adrian vs Chelsea

As a result, Adrian has been thrust into the limelight for Liverpool, and started vs Chelsea.

The Spaniard didn’t have a terrible first-half.

It was quite obvious that he is not as confident with his feet as Alisson, and this showed, as Liverpool didn’t play out from the back as much.

In terms of shot-stopping, the former West Ham man didn’t have an awful lot to do early in the game. But he did make a solid one-on-one save vs Mateo Kovacic just after the half-hour mark.

Olivier Giroud then opened the scoring for Chelsea in the 36th minute, but there wasn’t that much Adrian could have done about that.

Adrian would then give away a penalty in extra-time, which Jorginho stepped up and converted.

Adrian then saved Tammy Abraham’s penalty in the shootout to give Liverpool the win.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY – AUGUST 14: Adrian of Liverpool reacts during the UEFA Super Cup match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Vodafone Park on August 14, 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

2. Kante’s importance to Chelsea

N’Golo Kante has been an integral member of Chelsea’s midfield since signing from Leicester.

The Frenchman has proven for all of Chelsea, Leicester and France that he is one of the top midfielders in the world.

However, in Chelsea’s opening PL game of 2019/20, Kante started on the bench, as he was still recovering from an injury suffered last season.

Kante’s absence was very noticeable, and while he did eventually come on, Chelsea ended up losing that game vs Man United 4-0.

The 28-year-old would be back in from the start on Wednesday, though, and what a performance he put in.

The box-to-box midfielder was arguably Chelsea’s best player in the first 45.

Kante helped dominate the midfield, won the ball a lot, and even helped to set up the opening goal, playing in Christian Pulisic who then set up Giroud.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY – AUGUST 14: Andrew Robertson of Liverpool and Ngolo Kante of Chelsea during the UEFA Super Cup Final fixture between Liverpool and Chelsea at Vodafone Park on August 14, 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

3. Can Pulisic help replace Hazard?

Chelsea lost their top star over the summer, as Eden Hazard joined Real Madrid.

Hazard scored 16 and assisted 15 in 37 league outings last campaign, and would prove pretty tough to replace for any side. This is especially true for a side that can’t sign players for two windows, like Chelsea.

Frank Lampard himself recently admitted that you cannot really replace Hazard:

“So, you cannot replace him [Hazard] individually. It is pretty much impossible because of the high, high level that he is at now in his career.” As quoted by the Evening Standard.

However, Christian Pulisic showed signs vs Liverpool that he could certainly help to take on some of the load left by Hazard.

Pulisic was perhaps Chelsea’s best attacking threat while on the pitch.

The American would provide the assist for Giroud’s opener, and also score himself, though his strike was ruled out for offside.

Chelsea were not clinical enough in their 4-0 loss to Man United. But if Pulisic had been on the pitch, perhaps things would have been different.

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