With all-English finals in both European competitions in 2018/19, this season was always going to feature an all-English UEFA Super Cup. While we might’ve seen a north London derby, instead we have a derby from a far stranger place: the mid-Noughties.
Between 2004/05 and 2008/09, the Reds and the Blues faced off in the Champions League every season, three times in semi-finals. The first seven of the 10 meetings were particularly dour, sharing a total of just five goals. No wonder Jorge Valdano likened the matches to “a sh*t hanging from a stick”.
Liverpool might be more expressive than they were in the time of Rafa Benitez now, but there’s still usually very few goals in their clashes with Chelsea, or little to divide the sides.
The Reds came out as 2-0 winners in their last meeting, thanks to a header from Sadio Mané and a thunderbolt from Mohamed Salah. However, that was only the second time in the last 13 that either side has won by more than a single goal. Clean sheets haven’t had a regular airing in the last five years either – there have been just three, with that last clash providing Liverpool’s only one.
Four of the eight league meetings in Jürgen Klopp’s time have ended 1-1, and while I’m expecting a low-scoring match, it’s hard to figure out how a Hazard-less Chelsea will score, as the Belgian was their chief architect of mayhem against Liverpool. So steer clear of the both teams to score market and focus on total goals.
Bet: Under 2.5 goals at 11/10.
Since joining Liverpool, Salah has been on a mission to prove to Chelsea they were wrong to sell him. The Reds have scored three league goals against their west London rivals while the Egyptian has been on the pitch, and he has scored two of them. Salah also averages more shots against his former side than versus other members of the big six.
He was shooting from all angles against Manchester City in the Community Shield, firing off 10 efforts but ending goal-less. Salah ended his mini-drought by scoring a fine goal against Norwich, and will be motivated to prolong the Blues’ blues from Sunday.
Chelsea were unfortunate to lose 4-0 at Manchester United, but it is hard to see where their goals will come from.
Having two clear-cut chances at Old Trafford is good, having them both fall to your left back is not.
That said, Emerson was the last Chelsea player not called Hazard to score against Liverpool, so perhaps I’m writing him off too soon. The Blues’ top scorer in pre-season was Ross Barkley, and the former Everton man would love to score against Liverpool. Hopefully that motivation can power him towards a goal.
But who’s going to go home with the European equivalent of the Community Shield? Liverpool were the last English side to claim the honour, after they beat CSKA Moscow in 2005. English clubs have been defeated in this fixture four times since, with Chelsea losing twice (to Atletico Madrid in 2012, then to Bayern Munich 12 months later).
Paddy thinks the cup will be adorned with red ribbons at full time. Liverpool are 8/15 to win in 90 minutes, with a draw – at 3/1 – rated more likely than a Chelsea win, which is 4/1.
If it’s level at full time, we have extra-time and penalties to look forward to, albeit you only actually look forward to the shoot-out, not the extra half an hour of tired players wandering around.
The Reds recent shoot-out defeat in the Community Shield hasn’t dampened Paddy’s enthusiasm for their chances in Istanbul. Liverpool are 2/7 to lift the trophy, with Chelsea at 27/10. And I agree with my boss.
The Blues have only won two of the nine meetings since Klopp took over at Anfield. One of those was directly after Liverpool had played a Champions League semi-final second leg, the other in last season’s Carabao Cup, where the Reds took the unusual step of fielding their defence and goalkeeper from about two years earlier. Klopp’s crop to come out on top here.
Bet: Liverpool to win at 8/15.