Liverpool vs Chelsea
| Wednesday, August 14th |
UEFA Super Cup | Beşiktaş Park
8PM BST / 3PM EST
We’re only ten days into the 2019/20 season, and Liverpool already have their second shot at a trophy, following their penalty shootout loss to Manchester City in the Community Shield last Sunday. The Champions League winners travel to Turkey to face off with the reigning Europa League champions for a title that — unlike last week’s glorified friendly — goes up on the trophy wall at Anfield.
For Frank Lampard’s Chelsea, it’s been a rough start to the campaign. Despite playing their hosts roughly even over the course of the 90 minutes, they suffered a heavy 4-0 loss at Old Trafford, immediately casting doubts over their club hero’s managerial abilities. Bereaved of their best player for the past half decade and subject to a summer transfer ban, the team lack depth and top-shelf quality at both ends of the pitch, as was starkly evident on Sunday.
Tammy Abraham produced a fine season at Aston Villa last year, but at 21, the striker is not yet Alvaro Morata or Olivier Giroud. €64m man Christian Pulisic is a talented dribbler and ball progressor, and homegrown youth product Mason Mount may be a future star, but the two will have a hard time ever replacing the production of Eden Hazard, much less this season. And finally, the deadline day transfer of David Luiz to local rivals Arsenal sees the Blues dramatically weakened at centre-back, particularly with Antonio Rudiger still absent following knee surgery.
There is clearly still talent at Stamford Bridge, and the midfield trio of N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic should theoretically be one of the strongest in Europe, but this is not the same Chelsea side that finished third in the league last year, 25 points behind tomorrow’s opponents.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Adrián; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Keïta; Mané, Firmino, Salah
For the Reds, the opening game was a far more comfortable affair, and despite a few slip-ups at the back, the only real downside to the 4-1 win over Norwich was the calf injury suffered by Alisson Becker in the first half. The Brazilian is expected to miss anywhere between four and eight weeks of action, and Liverpool fans will hope that Adrián has not lost too many steps since he was a starter at West Ham two years ago, as well as Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk rediscovering their connection from last season.
Beyond their injured goalkeeper, though — and the unfortunate Nathaniel Clyne — the Merseysiders sport a clean bill of health, with the entire midfield corps ready for action. Whether Jürgen Klopp opts for rotation or rhythm, venomous transitions or reliable control remains to be seen, but whatever he picks, it will be entirely by his own choice.
Up top, Sadio Mané is expected to partake, having played 15 minutes of junk time on Friday, but having looked lively against an admittedly vulnerable Norwich, Divock Origi may hang on to his starting spot for another week.
Finally, the Reds will have had two full days of recovery compared to their opponents at Beşiktaş Park, and should be expected to look the fresher and more energetic side.
Up the Reds, it’s trophy time!
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “The Super Cup is the final proof—if you are not in that game, it means you didn’t win the final—so we’re looking forward to it. It’s a big one.”
Frank Lampard: “It’s a cup that the club desperately wants to win. I’ve never won it, a lot of players in there have never won it, so we have to give it everything.”
Referee: Stéphanie Frappart (FRA)
Assistant referees: Manuela Nicolosi (FRA), Michelle O’Neill (IRL)
Fourth official: Cüneyt Çakır (TUR)
VAR: Clément Turpin (FRA)
Kickoff is set for 8PM GMT/3PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.