By Neil Leverett
- Liverpool and Chelsea meet for the season’s first continental piece of silverware on Wednesday, in the 2019 UEFA Super Cup in Istanbul, Turkey
- Duo meet in all-Premier League clash, as winners of last season’s Champions League and Europa League respectively
- Reds and Blues contesting third and fourth finals respectively
ISTANBUL, TURKEY – Following hot on the heels of the opening weekend of the Premier League season, Liverpool and Chelsea meet in the 2019 UEFA Super Cup in Istanbul on Wednesday night.
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Turkey hosts Super Cup
Just days after the opening duels of the 2019/20 Premier League season, two of the English top flight’s big names meet for the first prize of the European football season, as Liverpool and Chelsea do battle in the 2019 UEFA Super Cup in Istanbul.
Since its initiation in 1973, the winners of European club football’s biggest prize meet in the pre-amble of the domestic campaign once more, as winners of last term’s UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa Leagues respectively – aside from three years in 1974, 1981 and 1985, when the showpiece was not held.
With both sides having been on the end of very differing outcomes over the weekend, London and Liverpool descend on the Black Sea this Wednesday, looking to give an early boost to their relative silverware aspirations this season.
As Besiktas’ home Vodacom Park Stadium plays a fitting venue in the shadow of the Bosphorus, the return to Istanbul could provide motivation enough for one side in particular, as arguably the scene of one club’s most famous night in their storied history.
Miracle in Istanbul
After Jurgen Klopp finally won his first European Cup at the third time of asking last June in Madrid against Tottenham Hotspur, the Reds roll into Turkey as Champions of Europe, conjuring memories the last time Liverpool were at the summit of European competition winning so dramatically here in 2005.
Finding themselves three nil down to AC Milan at the break to the backdrop of the Ataturk Stadium in the west of the Turkish metropolis 14 years ago – via a brace from Hernan Crespo and Paulo Maldini‘s first-minute opener – the Merseysiders stormed back to create history.
Recording a victory on penalties against the Italian giants will for many stand as the most remarkable comeback in European Cup history, but certainly the Reds’ most famous on their now glorious trail of final wins in the tournament.
As now six-time European Champions, Liverpool look to bookend their exploits of last season and rightfully confirm their status the best team on the continent last term. However in doing so will not be easy against a side who like themselves, have won the trophy before.
Lampard looks for Blues response
Chelsea booked their place in the final with a resounding 4-1 humbling of London rivals Arsenal in Baku last May, but whilst Liverpool took an opening day win against Norwich City, Frank Lampard’s men fell to a confidence-crushing 4-0 loss to Manchester United only days ago.
A side now bereft of Eden Hazard who masterminded their Azerbaijan win against the Gunners, the Blues are now seeking a new game-plan under their former club legend steward, who will be seeking a response from his players in Turkey.
The Blues may have failed to notch a goal on the opening day, but having suffered misfortune in the woodwork department, Lampard’s charges will be confident of causing a Reds back line problems, who themselves struggled to get to grips with an offensively vibrant Canaries last Friday evening.
With Chelsea keen to erase the weekend’s memories already, and with Liverpool wealth of attack weapons on display also – including the likely presence of Sadio Mane from the start – Wednesday’s clash will unlikely be a timid one, as last years prickly 4-2 contest between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will attest.
With both Premier League sides former winners of the Cup in 1998, 2001 and 2005 respectively, the Blues have lost in the final two years consecutively in 2012 and 2013 – to Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich.
Both Liverpool and Chelsea won at the showpiece’s former permanent home of the Stade Louis II in Monaco, giving one team the chance of bragging rights in Istanbul this Wednesday.
The last four finals have seen Tallinn, Skopje, Trondheim and Tbilisi bare witness to early season heated competition, and with referee Stephanie Frappart becoming the first female official to marshal the showpiece event, the Frenchwoman will will be kept on her toes.
The 2019 UEFA Super Cup takes place at the Vodacom Park Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey on Wednesday night, kick-off 8pm UK time.
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