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.
But Liverpool were not to be denied and Adrian’s spot-kick save secured the trophy on Thursday morning.