Jurgen Klopp hailed stand-in goalkeeper Adrian as Liverpool’s very own Rocky Balboa as he delivered the knock-out blow in Istanbul.
The goalkeeper, who only joined the European Champions 11 days ago, saved Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham’s penalty in a tense shoot-out to emerge as the hero as Liverpool added the UEFA Super Cup to their euphoric Champions League win in Madrid in June.
Adrian arrived at Anfield as understudy to undisputed No 1 Alisson Becker, but the Brazilian’s calf tear suffered during the opening day win over Norwich has opened the door to the Spaniard.
The ex-West Ham man took full advantage to make the vital contribution against Frank Lampard’s team.
And Klopp said: ‘What a story, ADRIAN! Like Rocky after he lost against Apollo Creed I think.
“He put in an incredible performance. Both goalkeepers did but for Adrián it was more surprising as there was no real preparation. I don’t even know when he last played for West Ham, to be honest. It’s so nice for him. I don’t think he won a lot in his life so to win this big one is so nice for him. Plus he showed that he is a proper personality in the dressing room. He was even louder than I was at half-time.”
“It’s about winning it and we did that, so now It’s onwards. It was like a boxing fight, proper knocks from both sides. I think nobody in the stadium wanted two more 15 minutes.
“It was really a killer, but we came through. I’m not sure about the penalty but who cares now.
Klopp was then asked what it means to lift the Super Cup…
I asked after the game again Millie and Hendo how do people see it. I’m not long enough in the country and was never in that game before. They said, ‘Oh no, it’s a proper trophy’. It’s on a wall at Melwood, so good. They have to draw it again, to paint the wall at Melwood again, bring another number on the wall ‘2019’ and a picture of whatever. It’s big. How I said, I didn’t know before the game how big it will feel. Now I know it and it’s great. If I would again be in that game – which would be nice because it would mean you have won something before – I would now be more experienced. How I said, it’s nice, really nice. But it’s not about me – I don’t only say that, I mean that – it’s really about doing it for the people. From four opportunities in the last three months, we won two. That’s good, that’s absolutely OK.
Now let’s carry on. Let’s try to find a way to win on Saturday and let’s try to find a way in the game after. Southampton, Arsenal is coming up and both will be incredibly difficult for different reasons. I think the only team that celebrated more tonight than us is probably Southampton when they saw ’90 minutes, no decision, let them go again’. But we will have to find a way and we will find a way to be really uncomfortable at least. If we are uncomfortable for the opponent then we can find a way to win the game. I have a couple of hours to think about that and that’s what I will do after talking to all of you.