Liverpool seek more silverware as Lampard eyes Super Cup boost

Chelsea players during a training session at the Vodafone Park Stadium in Istanbul on Tuesday. (AP)
Updated 13 August 2019
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Liverpool seek more silverware as Lampard eyes Super Cup boost

  • Reds hope the match can be prelude to their side finally going all the way in the Premier League

ISTANBUL: Jurgen Klopp wants Liverpool to make winning trophies a habit as they head back to Istanbul —  the scene of one of the club’s greatest triumphs — to take on Premier League rivals Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday.

The Anfield club memorably defeated AC Milan on penalties to win the Champions League by the Bosphorus back in 2005, and now they face Chelsea in the Turkish city after becoming European champions for the sixth time in June.

The traditional curtain-raiser to the European season may not be taken entirely seriously by everyone, but neither club will turn their noses up at the chance of lifting more silverware, with Liverpool having just ended a seven-year trophy drought and Frank Lampard eager to kick-start his Chelsea managerial career.

The clubs have already won the competition four times between them, but nine of the last 10 winners of the Super Cup have come from Spain.

Among the other protagonists on Wednesday will be Stephanie Frappart, with the French official becoming the first woman to referee a major men’s match in European competition.

Frappart will nevertheless be happy to stay out of the limelight once the match at the Vodafone Park, home of Besiktas, kicks off, with Liverpool favorites against a Chelsea side reeling from their 4-0 defeat at Manchester United in their Premier League opener.

After losing on penalties to Manchester City in the Community Shield, Liverpool began their league campaign with a comfortable 4-1 win over Norwich City with Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Divock Origi all scoring.

However, that result was somewhat overshadowed by the loss of Alisson Becker, with Klopp confirming the formidable Brazil goalkeeper will be out for a while with a calf injury.

“I don’t want to make now (an) exact prognosis on when he will be back but it will not be Wednesday for sure, so now then we have to see. It takes a while, it takes a couple weeks for sure, and we have to see,” he told the club’s website.

Spaniard Adrian will deputize in Alisson’s absence, and Klopp is hopeful his team can build on their win over Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final in Madrid.

“Stay greedy. That’s very important — I have no doubt about that, but it’s clear that we have to do that,” Klopp told UEFA.com when asked how his side could build on that success.

Reds fans will also be tempted by the possibility of a third successive Champions League final appearance, back in Istanbul at the end of the campaign.

Equally, they will hope the Super Cup can be the prelude to their side finally going all the way in the Premier League.

“We don’t want to just stop at the Champions League, that’s all we’ve won as a group of players,” Andy Robertson told the club’s website.

“We want more but we know how hard that’s going to be. This is our next opportunity to do so and it’d be great if we can take it.”

Chelsea secured their place in this fixture thanks to their comprehensive victory over Arsenal in the Europa League final, but much has changed since then.

Coach Maurizio Sarri and star player Eden Hazard have left, and club legend Lampard is now in charge, handed the reins at Stamford Bridge despite just one season’s managerial experience in the second tier with Derby County.

The prospect of winning a trophy in just his second competitive match with the London club will be an enticing one, although they could be forgiven for coming into this match with a sense of trepidation after their hammering at Old Trafford.

It will be interesting to see if Lampard keeps faith with the likes of youngsters Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham here.

“We know that we can improve. We have to face it, take the responsibility and move forward. We have a trophy to fight for on Wednesday against a good team and we have to be ready for it,” Cesar Azpilicueta said after Sunday’s defeat.


Di Maria scores 2 as PSG beats Madrid in Champions League

Updated 19 September 2019

Di Maria scores 2 as PSG beats Madrid in Champions League

  • Di Maria doubled the advantage when he struck again in the 33rd minute, found this time by Gueye

PARIS: No Neymar. No Kylian Mbappe. No problem.
With two first-half goals from Angel Di Maria and a rare late strike from right-back Thomas Meunier, a new-look Paris Saint-Germain missing its headline stars brushed aside a flat Real Madrid 3-0 in the Champions League to go top of Group A in an impressive start to its European campaign on Wednesday. 
Di Maria, a Champions League winner with Madrid in 2014, was rampant against his former club, using phenomenal speed and clever placing to torment a Madrid defense sorely missing the suspended Sergio Ramos.
The Argentine's first goal poked past Thibaut Courtois' near post in the 14th minute was his 25th in 100 European matches.
Some of PSG's new recruits were instrumental in the victory. Idrissa Gueye, bought from Everton, bossed the midfield.
Di Maria's opener originated with Mauro Icardi, a late loan-signing from Inter Milan. He linked up smartly with left-back Juan Bernat, who then found Di Maria in space in the box with a swift cut-back pass.
Di Maria doubled the advantage when he struck again in the 33rd minute, found this time by Gueye.
Di Maria caressed a pinpoint shot with his left foot from long range past the outstretched Courtois and celebrated enthusiastically as Paris fans lit red flares.
Gareth Bale thought he'd got a goal back moments later with a sweet volley over former Madrid teammate Keylor Navas, bought by Paris to provide added assurance behind the suffocating PSG defense that snuffed out Madrid at the Parc des Princes.
But referee Anthony Taylor spotted on video replay that the Wales winger had touched the ball with his right arm as he juggled it from his left foot to his right one before shooting.
Meunier's goal in second-half injury time was only his sixth in 48 European matches. Bernat's pass set up the strike. Up in the posh seats, the suspended Neymar and Mbappe, recovering from injury, chuckled together at the sight of the full-backs combining to score. Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane scowled.
Zidane lamented the lack of urgency from his side that had zero shots on target other than Bale's disallowed goal and another disallowed for offside in the second half.
"It was a weird sensation," he said, speaking through a translator. "We hardly ever got into the match."
Zidane refrained from singling out any player, saying "it's everybody's fault when we lose."
But James Rodriguez, back from Bayern Munich, was particularly ineffective. And Eden Hazard, bought from Chelsea, looked ring-rusty as he makes his way back from injury. A trademark dribble in the PSG area in the second half ended with Hazard tripping over himself and landing on his backside.
Zidane replaced them both with 20 minutes to play.
PSG coach Thomas Tuchel, on the other hand, had no problem singling out Gueye for praise. He clicked with Marco Verratti and the deeper-lying Marquinhos in the PSG midfield that purred as if they'd played together for years.
"He's a machine. He never stops, never stops running," Tuchel said. "Against a team like Madrid, that is super-important."
Tuchel suggested the absence of Neymar, Mbappe and PSG's record scorer Edinson Cavani, also recovering from injury, may have been a help rather than a hindrance.
Without them, outside observers figured PSG was unlikely to win, and that eased pressure on Tuchel's other players, the coach said.
When Neymar has served out the rest of his two-match ban, and Mbappe and Cavani are fit again, expectations will quickly rise in the wake of this humbling of Madrid that showed the strength in depth of PSG's expensively assembled team.
But PSG knows from bitter experience how hard the road will become in the Champions League, having failed to get beyond the quarterfinals since the club's wealthy Qatari owners took over in 2011.
Tuchel was eager to tamp down any buzz.
"If someone asks me if we are going to win the Champions League, I'm leaving," he said.