Liverpool and Chelsea will this week face off in the first ever all-English UEFA Super Cup.
Ahead of Wednesday’s match, PA takes a look at five of the main talking points ahead of the Besiktas Park clash.
Lampard to get first win – and Cup?
Maurizio Sarri was at the helm when the Blues comprehensively overcame Arsenal 4-1 to lift the Europa League in Baku. A lot has changed in the subsequent 11 weeks, with match-winner Eden Hazard leaving, a transfer ban being juggled and fan favourite Frank Lampard getting the manager’s job. Chelsea’s all-time top scorer endured a nightmare start to life in charge, with his first match ending in a 4-0 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday. Lampard has a chance to make amends in Istanbul on Wednesday, when a first victory would bring the first trophy of his managerial career having twice fallen short in the Super Cup during his playing days.
More Istanbul memories for Liverpool?
It is 14 years since the Reds enjoyed one of the most memorable nights in their history, overturning a three-goal half-time deficit to draw 3-3 and beat AC Milan on penalties to lift the Champions League at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium. Liverpool will be hoping to return there for the 2019/2020 finale, but first comes another shot at silverware in Istanbul as Jurgen Klopp’s men line up at Besiktas Park in the Super Cup. Liverpool are bidding to lift the Super Cup for a fourth occasion – a great chance to lay down a marker to rivals at the start of the season.
Can Adrian handle the pressure?
Adrian’s six-year stint with West Ham came to an end in the summer, having made 150 first-team appearances in all competitions and twice been voted Hammer of the Year runner-up. Liverpool picked up the free agent as back-up to Alisson Becker last week and now the 32-year-old finds himself preparing to line up in the UEFA Super Cup after a calf injury forced the Brazil goalkeeper off against Norwich. It is a big stage for a first start and it will be interesting to see how Adrian gets on.
Kante to win another European fitness race?
“We need to make a decision on him,” Lampard said in the bowels of Besiktas Park. “He has a small injury which we are concerned about and we will have to decide with him on that this evening.” In May, not only did N’Golo Kante overcome injury concerns but he managed to play the full 90 minutes as Chelsea won the Europa League. The France international managed to come off the bench at Manchester United after a disrupted summer, only for Lampard to reveal he has sustained a new knock. Kante trained with the rest of his Chelsea team-mates on the eve of the game, but the manager has to decide whether to risk the midfielder.
Historic moment for women’s football
Stephanie Frappart will write her name in the history books on Wednesday as she becomes the first female referee to officiate a UEFA men’s competition event. Assisted by Manuela Nicolosi and Michelle O’Neill from the Republic of Ireland, the decision has been welcomed by Chelsea boss Frank Lampard, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and players from both teams. A momentous occasion, O’Neill hopes it can be an inspiration to young girls across the world.
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