FIFA LEAGUES/CUPS

Klopp’s 800th and Reds back on their perch


Liverpool marked Jurgen Klopp‘s 800th game as a manager with a UEFA Super Cup triumph to leapfrog Man United as England’s most successful club.

The Reds endured a tough, sticky night in Istanbul as they were required to go the full distance in a vanity ‘final’ which somehow deemed extra time necessary.

Just three games into the season, Klopp’s side headed to Turkey to contest the Super Cup having won the Champions League in June, taking on Europa League holders Chelsea.

The heat and a shoddy pitch at Besiktas Park made it a difficult game for both sides, with the Blues going in front through Olivier Giroud, only for Sadio Mane to score a brace and needing a Jorginho penalty to set up a shootout.

Winning that, Liverpool lifted their first trophy of the campaign, and here’s how the clash unfolded in five key statistics.

 

Ox’s Return

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - Wednesday, August 14, 2019: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates with the trophy after winning the Super Cup after the UEFA Super Cup match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Besiktas Park. Liverpool won 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp made five changes to his side from the Premier League opener against Norwich, as Adrian, Joel Matip, James Milner, Sadio Mane and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came in for Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gini Wijnaldum, Divock Origi and Roberto Firmino.

For Oxlade-Chamberlain, it marked a first competitive start for the Reds since he damaged his anterior cruciate ligament in the 5-2 win over AS Roma last April.

This meant there were 477 days between then and his full return to the side, and though it saw him produce a quiet display on the left wing, it is a major milestone for the midfielder.

That it came over five months on from his first start back for the under-23s highlights how carefully Liverpool are managing his recovery.

Oxlade-Chamberlain turned 26 on August 15, with his birthday coming while the Reds were still on the pitch during extra time.

 

Adrian’s Penalty Prowess

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - Wednesday, August 14, 2019: Liverpool's goalkeeper Adrián San Miguel del Castillo tries to put off Chelsea's Tammy Abraham as he saves the decisive fifth penalty in the shoot-out to win the Super Cup during the UEFA Super Cup match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Besiktas Park. Liverpool won 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The narrative of Adrian going from goalkeeper-for-hire to Liverpool’s hero in Istanbul is a heartwarming one.

But few should have been surprised that the 32-year-old was able to pull off the decisive save in the shootout, stopping Tammy Abraham’s low effort with his feet to win 5-4.

In fact, Adrian has won all three penalty shootouts he has featured in, with this victory adding to two previous wins while at West Ham.

The first came over Everton in the FA Cup, and the Spaniard even scored the winner that time, throwing his gloves down during his run-up to blast the ball beyond Joel Robles and reach the fourth round in 2015.

That same year, the Hammers scraped past Birkirkara in the Europa League qualifiers, winning 5-3 on penalties.

According to Opta, only Simon Mignolet (six) has stopped more spot-kicks than Adrian (five) in the Premier League since 2014/15.

 

World-Class Mane

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - Wednesday, August 14, 2019: Liverpool's Sadio Mane kneels to pray as he celebrates scoring the first equalising goal during the UEFA Super Cup match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Besiktas Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After coming off the bench against Norwich last Friday, Mane was back in the starting lineup less than a month after the Africa Cup of Nations final.

Such a short break may be a concern for the Reds further down the line this season, but Klopp can be forgiven for his eagerness to start the No. 10 given his excellent form.

Mane played his 200th game for an English club on Wednesday night, with 125 of those coming for the Reds.

The 27-year-old is improving by the day, and should now be considered a genuine, world-class talent, and certainly one of Liverpool’s most important players.

Sergio Aguero (20) is the only player to score more goals for a Premier League club in all competitions in 2019, with Mane bringing his total up to 19, Opta report.

 

Klopp’s 800th

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - Wednesday, August 14, 2019: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the pre-match warm-up before the UEFA Super Cup match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Besiktas Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After silverware eluded him in his first three campaigns with the Reds, Klopp has now lifted two European trophies in the space of two-and-a-half months.

The UEFA Super Cup was his 800th game as a manager, and Opta detailed his improving record over the years.

His win ratio has stepped up with each club, from Mainz (40%) to Borussia Dortmund (56%) to Liverpool (57%).

Though the resources available to him have increased with every move, Klopp is undoubtedly one of the best managers in world football, and is now backing that up with titles.

 

Reds Back on Their Perch

Super Cup celebration (PA Media)

Last but not least, Liverpool are now back on their f***ing perch.

Victory in the UEFA Super Cup has given the Reds a 43rd major honour in their history, with this being the fourth time they have lifted the trophy itself.

This joins 18 First Division titles, six European Cups, seven FA Cups and eight League Cups, with Man United now sitting second with 42 in total.

Arsenal (30) are significantly further behind in third, ahead of Chelsea (24) and Aston Villa (20) to round off the top five.





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