This Wednesday evening will see Liverpool and Chelsea going head to head to try and win this year’s UEFA Super Cup. This annual tournament takes place between the winners of the Champions League and the Europa League. The 41,188 capacity Vodafone Park in Istanbul will host the match and it’s the first time that two English teams will take part in the competition.
Liverpool’s 2-0 Champions League triumph over Tottenham Hotspur saw them book their place in the UEFA Super Cup. Chelsea took the Europa League place after they punished Arsenal 4-1 in Azerbaijan at the end of May. Although Liverpool look largely unchanged after their Champions League success, Chelsea have a brand new manager and will have to make do without their stand-out player of last season.
It should also be noted that the match will be refereed by Stephanie Frappart. This makes this year’s UEFA Super Cup will be the first major European men’s final to be refereed by female officials. There will also be the introduction of VAR in the UEFA Super Cup for the first time. So does Jurgen Klopp’s team have what it takes to stamp their mark on European football once more?
Liverpool set to pick up where they left off
When the UEFA Super Cup kicks off at 8pm on Wednesday, Liverpool will be looking to continue their incredibly strong run of form. Their manager, Jurgen Klopp, has already told his team to ‘stay greedy’ as they look to capitalise on their Champions League triumph of last season.
Although Liverpool were narrowly beaten by Manchester City in the race for the Premier League title, their Champions League triumph heralded Klopp’s team as the new kings of European football.
The Reds were in devastating form in their opening Premier League game against Norwich City at Anfield on Friday night. With four goals before the stroke of half-time, it was evident that Liverpool were straight back to their winning ways.
Although Grant Hanley’s own goal was unfortunate, the following strikes from Mo Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Divock Origi showed that Liverpool weren’t showing any signs of a hangover after their Champions League triumph.
Comfortably beating Premier League newcomers like Norwich wasn’t too much of a surprise, but Liverpool’s Community Shield performance against Manchester City was equally impressive. Whilst Manchester City claimed the trophy after a penalty shoot-out, Klopp’s team looked strong all around with the irrepressible Salah once again creating many goalscoring chances.
Injury problems strike Liverpool’s goalkeepers
However, the injury suffered by goalkeeper Alisson Becker against Norwich threatens to put a cloud over Liverpool’s European Super Cup preparations. Alisson was stretchered off after a nasty slip and it looks like the Brazilian star won’t be making an appearance this Wednesday.
Although the experienced ex-West Ham goalkeeper, Adrian, is expected to fill Alisson’s boots, he is the only goalie on Liverpool’s books who is currently match-fit. Thankfully Joe Gomez has returned after a lengthy injury, and the defender proved to be back to his best in Liverpool’s 4-1 win over Norwich.
Will lack of signings affect Liverpool’s chances this season?
Whilst rival clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham were quite happily throwing money around on the transfer market, Liverpool had a relatively quiet transfer window. Alongside the welcome arrival of Adrian in the goalkeeper position, the only other signings were the young Dutch defender, Sepp van den Berg, and the 16-year old winger, Harvey Elliott.
The lack of transfer activity could hint at the fact that Jurgen Klopp has managed to cultivate an extremely well-rounded squad. However, it could also be the case that Liverpool’s new £50 million training complex has limited their spending power this summer. But despite the lack of transfers, it looks like Liverpool are well on course to claim their first piece of silverware this season.
Chelsea aiming to prove the doubters wrong
Whilst Liverpool will be heading into the UEFA Super Cup full of confidence, the same can’t be said for Chelsea. Despite welcoming back Frank Lampard back to the club in the role of manager, the London team were thumped 4-0 by a rejuventated Manchester United on their opening Premier League game of the season.
Although Lampard rightly stated that Chelsea didn’t deserve such a devastating scoreline, their poor second half performance showed that there is a huge amount of work to be done. For much of the first half, Chelsea looked the better team, and were unlucky to have a Tammy Abraham shot in the fourth minute denied by the woodwork.
Frank Lampard’s team had more possession, more corners, more shots and more shots on target than Manchester United on Sunday. But the lack of goalscoring touch shows how Chelsea’s current transfer ban might hit them hard this season.
With last year’s star player, Eden Hazard, being sold to Real Madrid, Chelsea face a worrying lack of quality up front. Although Olivier Giroud is a talented individual, he’s had a barren time in front of goal in the Premier League, and Abraham failed to make good chances count at Old Trafford.
Equally worrying was Chelsea’s defence who were outclassed by Manchester United’s forwards. Lampard may regret selling David Luiz to Arsenal after his replacement, Kurt Zouma, gave away possession and even conceded a penalty. All of which added up to Chelsea’s heaviest opening-day league defeat in the club’s history.
Is Frank Lampard the right man for the Chelsea job?
There is no doubt that Frank Lampard was one of the greatest midfielders of his generation, and whilst he became a legend at Chelsea, there remain big questions over his managerial skills. Lampard was appointed the management position at Stamford Bridge in early July, after guiding Derby Country to the Championship play-offs.
The arrival of Lampard was greeted with a huge amount of positivity from Chelsea’s fans that was a marked contrast to his predecessor, Maurizio Sarri. Although Sarri helped Chelsea to the Europa League title, he never really gelled with the fans and left to take over the management position at Juventus.
Lampard’s task has been made much harder as a result of Chelsea’s transfer ban. Although the club managed to get Christian Pulisic on their books before the ban came into force, it remains to be seen how well this promising American player will make up for the absence of Eden Hazard.
Chelsea’s opening match against Manchester United saw Lampard picking an unprecedented number of homegrown players. There have long been calls for Chelsea to promote youth from within their ranks, but such a risky decision looked to have come unstuck on Sunday.
With the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi still taking time to recover from recent injuries, it looks like Lampard is going to have his work cut out in facing a formidable Liverpool attack. And with a tough Premier League home clash against Leicester City on Sunday, it looks like things aren’t going to get much easier for Chelsea.
Who were the previous European Super Cup winners?
Although Liverpool are currently look like the stronger team, competitions like the UEFA Super Cup are notable for throwing up some surprising results. These have included Zenit Saint Petersburg defeating Manchester United 2-1 in 2008, whilst Galatasary beat Real Madrid 2-1 in 2000.
Atletico Madrid are the reigning champions with Diego Costa’s two goals helping the side beat their city rivals, Real Madrid 2-4 in extra time. Spanish clubs have tended to rule the UEFA Super Cup with 15 wins, followed by nine for Italian teams and seven for English sides.
Liverpool have a pretty good history in the tournament with three wins out of five appearances. 2005 saw Liverpool beating CSKA Moscow 3-1 thanks to extra time goals from Djibril Cisse and Luis Garcia.
Although Chelsea have appeared in the UEFA Super Cup three times, they have only triumphed once thanks to their 1998 0-1 win over Real Madrid. 2012 and 2013 saw Chelsea losing to Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively.
Regardless of what happens on Wednesday night, it will be a big moment for English football. This is because no Premier League team has won the UEFA Super Cup since Liverpool’s success in 2005.
Liverpool and Chelsea have met each other 11 times in UEFA competitions, with Chelsea having a slight upper hand with three wins to Liverpool’s two victories. But with Liverpool looking especially strong at the moment, it looks like Wednesday night could see Jurgen Klopp’s side redressing the balance.
UEFA Super Cup results since 2000
- 2018: Atletico Madrid 4-2 Real Madrid (extra time)
- 2017: Real Madrid 2-1 Manchester United
- 2016: Real Madrid 3-2 Sevilla (extra time)
- 2015: Barcelona 5-4 Sevilla (extra time)
- 2014: Real Madrid 2-0 Sevilla
- 2013: Bayern Munich 2-2 Chelsea (Bayern won 5-4 on penalties)
- 2012: Atletico Madrid 4-1 Chelsea
- 2011: Barcelona 2-0 Porto
- 2010: Atletico Madrid 2-0 Inter Milan
- 2009: Barcelona 1-0 Shakhtar Donetsk (extra time)
- 2008: Zenit Saint Petersburg 2-1 Manchester United
- 2007: AC Milan 3-1 Sevilla
- 2006: Sevilla 3-0 Barcelona
- 2005: Liverpool 3-1 CSKA Moscow (extra time)
- 2004: Valencia 2-1 Porto
- 2003: AC Milan 1-0 Porto
- 2002: Real Madrid 3-1 Feyenoord
- 2001: Liverpool 3-2 Bayern Munich
- 2000: Galatasary 2-1 Real Madrid (golden goal)