Soccer

Liverpool beats Chelsea to lift Super Cup

AP

Adrian may never play more than a smattering of games for Liverpool, but he’ll be remembered for his “crazy week.”

The backup goalkeeper turned penalty hero with a save on the final kick of the shootout as Liverpool beat Chelsea to win the Super Cup and kick off a new European season.

After Champions League holder Liverpool and Europa League winner Chelsea finished extra time at 2-2, Adrian made the crucial save with his leg to deny Tammy Abraham and give his team a 5-4 win on penalties in a game which finished after midnight Turkish time on Thursday.

It was a dramatic turnaround after Adrian fouled Abraham to concede a penalty in extra time.

Adrian was signed just nine days before as backup for Alisson, but when the Brazilian injured himself last Friday in the English Premier League opener, he was thrust into the spotlight first as a substitute, then as a Super Cup starter.

“Welcome to Liverpool,” Adrian said. “It’s been a crazy week. I’m really happy for the team, I’m happy to play for Liverpool and happy for the fans.”

The 32-year-old Spanish goalkeeper was a free agent after leaving West Ham, where he didn’t play a single Premier League game last season and last appeared in an F.A. Cup loss to lowly AFC Wimbledon.

“The goalkeeping coach told me he needs time to get fit, but he didn’t have time. He played so well tonight,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said. “His performance over 120 minutes was incredible and the penalty save was the icing on the cake.”

Even before the shootout, Adrian kept Liverpool in the game with a 113th-minute save from Mason Mount to stop Chelsea winning in extra time. Still, he’s expected to relinquish his Liverpool starting spot to Alisson when the Brazilian returns from his calf injury in a few weeks.

Chelsea took the lead in the 36th minute when Christian Pulisic exposed poor positioning by Liverpool right-back Joe Gomez to pass for Olivier Giroud to shoot low past Adrian.

Liverpool stormed back after the break, Fabinho’s 48th-minute pass opening up the Chelsea defense and leaving Sadio Mane with an easy finish off Mohamed Salah’s flick.

In extra time, Mane put Liverpool ahead off a Roberto Firmino cross, but Chelsea quickly responded with a penalty from Jorginho.