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Adrian the Super Cup hero as Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties for Istanbul triumph

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Having vowed on the eve of the game that he maintains his faith in his young players, Mason Mount and Abraham found themselves dropped to the bench by Frank Lampard after Sunday’s 4-0 drubbing at Manchester United.

But perhaps an opening ceremony featuring local children singing a Bob Marley classic had been specifically designed to reassure the Chelsea boss that “every little thing’s gonna be alright”.

In the end, it was not “every little thing” but one out of two that went “all right” – although that was enough to enable Chelsea to take a lead into the break that they had increasingly deserved.

The timing of Olivier Giroud’s run to meet Christian Pulisic’s pass was more than all right, it was immaculate, enabling him to slide the ball under Adrian.

At first glance it looked tight but the technology went with the Frenchman and the goal stood.

Moments later, though, when Pulisic thought he had doubled the lead, it went all wrong. The United States international’s shot might have been inch perfect, but his run was not.

The flag went up, correctly as it turned out, and the match remained in the balance.

Liverpool had had chances and when a superb overhead kick from Sadio Mane in only the seventh minute was blocked by the elbow of Andreas Christensen there were calls for another early penalty gift as in the Champions League final. Nothing doing this time, though.

Kepa Arrizabalaga soon afterwards made a great save to deny Mohamed Salah, cutting in from the right in trademark fashion.

But after that a couple of set-piece chances was as much as Liverpool could muster in a disjointed first half.

Chelsea, meanwhile, were building in confidence, driven on by N’Golo Kante, thriving in the position further up and the field and wider than Maurizio Sarri had been pilloried for trying him.

His speed and tenacity kept the Liverpool defence on its heels and the sharpness of his passing made the Liverpool defence look surprisingly awkward.

Even before the goal, a horrendous miskick by Joe Gomez allowed Pedro through on goal only for his fierce shot to flash against the face of the crossbar and Adrian had to be on his toes to block Mateo Kovacic’s attempt to round him.

It took just three minutes for Chelsea to rue their failure to get a second while they were clearly on top.

Substitute Roberto Firmino reacted first to Fabinho’s simple up-and-under, the ball ran to Sadio Mane and he forced it home.

That confidence that had built over 45 minutes seemed to be shaken out of Chelsea in an instant.

Fabinho went close. Kepa scrabbled to keep out a Jordan Henderson chance. For 10 minutes, the London club were on the ropes.

Kepa made a superb double save, first from Salah and then pushing Virgil van Dijk’s follow-up brilliantly onto the bar.

Mount and Abraham belatedly took their bows and the former thought he had snatched a winner only for VAR to uphold the assistant’s very late offside call.

Chelsea had ridden the storm and when Salah pulled the last kick of the game across the face of goal at the other end, it was clear this one was going the distance.

Firmino’s cut-back for Mane to hammer the ball into the net for his second put Liverpool in front for the first time five minutes into extra time.

But when Abraham’s pace drew a clumsy foul from Adrian, Jorginho rolled the penalty in as cool as you like.

A firmer touch on a low cross moments later from Abraham could have snatched a winner and Mount had a second-half effort beaten away by Adrian.

On to spot kicks it went and Abraham was left to rue his earlier miss.

Like Dudek but without the wobbling, Adrian kept the striker out with his legs as the Pole denied Andriy Shevchenko in this same city 14 years ago as the Champions League winners overcame the Europa League champions.




For more news relating to Chelsea, visit our sister site Chelsea Live.
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