UEFA Super Cup: Liverpool vs Chelsea – 3 key battles that could decide the outcome

Champions League winners Liverpool face off against Europa League champions Chelsea on Wednesday at the Vodafone Arena in Istanbul for the UEFA Super Cup.

The two English sides had contrasting fortunes on the opening day of the 2019-20 Premier League season as the Merseyside club ran riot over newly-promoted Norwich City, winning 4-1 on Friday night, while Chelsea were on the wrong end of a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Manchester United.

The two teams will want to get their hands on their first silverware of the season by winning the competition.

Let’s take a look at 3 key battles in the Super Cup:

Roberto Firmino vs Kurt Zouma

Chelsea’s defence looked shaky in the game against Manchester United, despite their attack posing a lot of problems for the Red Devils and coming close to scoring on more than one occasion on Sunday.

One of the players who had a game to forget was Chelsea centre-back Kurt Zouma, who was at fault for conceding the penalty that game United the early lead. The 24-year-old was also caught out, and was partly to blame for the other goals that Chelsea conceded.

Firmino, on the other hand, had a splendid game for Liverpool, despite not getting on the scoresheet against Norwich City. The Brazilian attacker pressed and worked hard, and was a nuisance to the Norwich backline, while he also assisted Mohamed Salah’s goal.

He could be difficult to contain if he has the same energy that he had on Friday night, and Zouma could be in for another rough night in Istanbul.

Sadio Mane vs Cesar Azpilicueta

Sadio Mane came off the bench on Friday, replacing goalscorer Divock Origi in the second half, and we expect him to start against Chelsea on Wednesday night. Mane, who returned late to Liverpool for pre-season due to the African Cup of Nations, could be one of the players to watch out for in the game against Chelsea.

The Senegalese will be up against Cesar Azpilicueta on the left flank, who also had a difficult game against Manchester United, often caught out of position and troubled by the pace of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford.

With an even tougher trio of Mane, Salah, and Firmino to contend with, the experienced Spanish full-back could be targeted by the Liverpool forwards.

Chelsea attack vs Adrian

Adrian came on against Norwich City to replace the injured Alisson in the first half of the game, and will be the Merseyside club’s goalkeeper till the Brazilian returns from injury.

The former West Ham United ‘keeper had an easy debut on Friday night, but he could be in for a sterner test on Wednesday. Chelsea were dangerous on several occasions against Manchester United, and if Frank Lampard’s men can be a little more clinical than Friday, we could be in for an exciting game.

Adrian hasn’t had a lot of football over the last year or so, as he was the second-choice goalkeeper at West Ham last season, playing just 5 games for the Hammers.

The Blues need to test the Spanish ‘keeper with a few early shots on goal to see how his nerves will be. Liverpool have a strong team, but Adrian could be the only weak link in the Reds’ lineup, which Chelsea should try exploiting.

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