A ball is yet to be kicked in anger but the 2019 edition of the European Super Cup has already made history. For the first time the game will be staged in Turkey, and also for the first time it will be an all-English affair, pitting last season’s Champions League and Europa League winners against each other.
It could hardly be otherwise, given Liverpool beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in the Champions League final last season, while Chelsea dispatched Arsenal 4-1 in the Europa League final.
The two Premier League rivals have previously featured a combined eight times in the European Super Cup, with Liverpool winning in three of its five appearances and Chelsea winning on its first appearance in 1998 and losing in 2012 and 2013.
Liverpool’s most recent success in the competition came in 2005, just a few months after the Reds completed one of the most memorable comebacks in Champions League history. Trailing by 3-0 at halftime against A.C. Milan, Liverpool erased the deficit before winning on penalties to clinch a fifth European Cup.
Incidentally, that game was also played in Istanbul. However, if the first weekend of the Premier League season is anything to go by, Liverpool is unlikely to find itself trailing by three goals at any stage of the game, let alone at halftime.
The defending European champions comfortably swatted Norwich City aside 4-1 on Friday, while Frank Lampard’s debut as Chelsea manager ended with a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester United.
While Liverpool did not add any major signings in the summer through choice, Chelsea was forced to deal with a transfer embargo which kicked in after the arrivals of Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic.
With Eden Hazard leaving for Real Madrid, Lampard has a huge rebuilding job on his hands and while the European Super Cup would represent a nice feather in his cap, it is not a long-term priority for him and the club.
Conversely, Jurgen Klopp would love to lift a second trophy in three months. The Reds’ first hope of silverware vanished earlier this month as they lost to Manchester City in the Community Shield, but they remain in contention for another six trophies this season.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Wednesday.
As is tradition, the European Super Cup is held in neutral territory. This year the game will be played at Vodafone Park in Istanbul, Turkey, marking the first time the Super Cup is played in the country.
Kick-off is scheduled for 10 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET) on Wednesday, August 14.
Istanbul holds fond memories for Liverpool, who famously won the Champions League there in 2005 when it beat A.C. Milan on penalties after trailing 3-0 at halftime.
The game will be broadcast live on TNT.
A live stream will be available via TNT website as well as via fuboTV.
The season couldn’t have begun more differently for the two sides. Liverpool lost the Community Shield on penalties to Manchester City, before thumping Norwich City 4-1 in the Premier League opener on Friday night.
Mohamed Salah, Virgil Van Dijk and Divock Origi were all on target as the reigning European champions took a 4-0 lead within 42 minutes.
Chelsea, on the other hand, was on the receiving end of a 4-0 shellacking at the hands of Manchester United on Sunday. The Blues were the better side in the first half, but fell behind before halftime to Marcus Rashford’s penalty and then disintegrated defensively in the second half, conceding three times.
Liverpool will be without first-choice goalkeeper Alisson for at least a couple of weeks after the Brazilian suffered a calf injury against Norwich City on Friday.
“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,” Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp told the club’s website. “It takes a while, it takes a couple weeks for sure, and we have to see.”
Chelsea, meanwhile, could have N’Golo Kante available from the start after the Frenchman was a second-half substitute against Manchester United. Long-term absentees Antonio Rudiger, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are all unavailable.
According to William Hill, Liverpool is a 77/100 favorite (-130 in moneyline terms), while the draw is at 31/10 and Chelsea is 23/5 outsider.