Liverpool 2-2 Chelsea (5-4): Mane’s Turkish Delight
If you weren’t up desperate to win it at kick-off you most certainly were by the shootout. This trophy is bigger than they will have you believe and winning it only adds more weight to the fact that Liverpool are back. The undisputed Kings of Europe have become the most successful side in English football.
In addition to that they have sent another statement to the rest of Europe’s elite that we are going nowhere. Last season’s success is not the extent of our ambition and these players will not just slink back into the shadows. The pinstriped Reds are hungrier than ever in their pursuit of titles and each one that is raised aloft by the captain makes the next a little easier and this team a little stronger.
Liverpool have won two trophies in three months while playing utterly abysmal in large parts. It’s a sign of our strength and it must frighten our rivals around Europe. Liverpool’s ability to grind out victories in big games despite the performance and a number of shocking decisions by officials that could debilitate any team, adds to the aura and confidence of our players and saps the hope from opponents on the biggest of stages.
The biggest of stages are for the biggest of players where Sadio Mane thrives. He has now scored 3 in 3 for the Reds in major finals, being our star in two of them. He worked tirelessly all night, holding the ball up and bringing others into play. He was left frustrated by lack of service as Liverpool were very disjointed for large parts. But he kept plugging away and took his chances when he got them. His second in particular was a miraculous finish at a crucial time with tired legs in that humidity on that turf and past that keeper who was proving incredibly difficult to beat all night.
Mane’s brace means he now has scored 6 more goals than Mo Salah for Liverpool in 2019 and more than any other Liverpool player with 18 strikes. He has been in spectacular form for a while now has become one of the very best players in the world in the process. On Wednesday, Mane completed 83% of his attempted passes, made 2 key passes, had 4 shots out of 7 on target and made 3 tackles, as well as scoring twice of course. In a game where Mane did nit get everything his own way in terms of service and help from teammates, he put in an inspiring performance with an incredible amount of work off the ball.
No rest for the weary, the Reds now march on Southampton. They return from Turkey with a brand-new trophy and all the belief that comes with it. Liverpool will bounce down to the south coast, feeling confident and looking for 3 points. The game will not be easy. It will be a slog where the Reds must earn the right to play. But this is where these players thrive, when their backs are against the wall and when it feels like a battle. The almighty Reds are UEFA Supercup Champions – the first trophy of the season.
Here’s to many more.