Liverpool vs Chelsea: Virgil van Dijk vs Olivier Giroud and the key battles which could decide the Super Cup in Istanbul


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Liverpool take on Chelsea on Wednesday evening in the first ever meeting between two English sides in the UEFA Super Cup.

Last season’s Champions League winners take on the Europa League holders at the Vodafone Park in Istanbul, a game you can hear live on talkSPORT at 8pm.

The breathtaking Vodafone Park will host Liverpool’s clash with Chelsea

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The breathtaking Vodafone Park will host Liverpool’s clash with Chelsea

It is incredible what can change in just a few short months in football, with the two teams on completely different trajectories at this current moment in time.

Since their triumph in Baku over Arsenal, Chelsea have been hit with a transfer ban, lost Eden Hazard and replaced Maurizio Sarri with club legend Frank Lampard.

Conversely, the Reds have managed to sign two potential stars for the future, have kept all their best players and look stronger than ever under Jurgen Klopp.

And this consistency (or lack thereof) for both sides has transferred into their Premier League form. Liverpool smashed four past Norwich, while the Blues were torn to shreds by a ruthless Manchester United side at Old Trafford.

Frank Lampard is rallying his troops after they were hammered by Manchester United

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Frank Lampard is rallying his troops after they were hammered by Manchester United

The chance to win a trophy so early in the season will act as huge motivation for both managers, with Klopp capable of winning six trophies this season.

As for Lampard, lifting the Super Cup in Istanbul against such a rampant attacking Liverpool frontline will go some way to quietening the dissenting voices who questioned the appointment of the former Derby Count manager.

So where will the game be won and lost?

Below, talkSPORT.com has looked at three key battles which could go some way to determining if the prestigious Super Cup will be decked in red or blue ribbons.

The Liverpool players are in relaxed mood ahead of the Super Cup

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The Liverpool players are in relaxed mood ahead of the Super Cup

Virgil van Dijk vs Olivier Giroud

It is likely to be a battle of the giants in Istanbul

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It is likely to be a battle of the giants in Istanbul

Frank Lampard gave Tammy Abraham the nod to start at Old Trafford on Sunday, but the Blues boss will know he needs the experience of Giroud if the Blues are to have any chance of getting past Van Dijk.

The Netherlands captain has been practically insurmountable since his move to Anfield in January 2018, winning an incredible 244 duels in the league last season as he was crowned PFA Player of the Year.

And while he is yet to be dribbled past in a competitive game since March 2018, the aerial war Giroud is likely to wage on him could be the secret to Chelsea’s success.

The France international is a selfless player for his side and managed to win 2.6 aerial battles on average for the Blues last season en route to lifting the Europa League trophy.

Mohamed Salah vs Emerson Palmieri

Emerson is likely to be given a thorough examination of his defensive nous against the Egyptian King

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Emerson is likely to be given a thorough examination of his defensive nous against the Egyptian King

Salah has started the season in exactly the sort of form which will be giving defenders across the country nightmares, while Emerson has enjoyed a less than ideal start.

Although he largely nullified the threat of Jesse Lingard, the full-back still found himself shipping four goals at Old Trafford. But his attacking output will have been a plus for Lampard.

The Italy international hit the post with a rasping drive in the penalty box and his rampaging runs could force Salah to track back, or even drag a midfielder out of shape.

But Oleksandr Zinchenko learned during the Community Shield that bombing forward against the ‘Egyptian King’ can be a dangerous game. Salah was given the Man of the Match award as he recorded 10 shots, completed five dribbles and had a pass success rate of 96%.

Jordan Henderson vs Jorginho

Henderson is thriving since being released of his defensive shackles by Klopp

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Henderson is thriving since being released of his defensive shackles by Klopp

For three years Henderson played at the base of midfield for Liverpool without fuss, but took his chance to wreak havoc when deployed further forward by Jurgen Klopp towards the end of last season.

During the Premier League game at Anfield between the two sides, Henderson literally steamrollered the opposition with his energy and dynamic style of play.  The England international chipped in with four more assists and a goal during the last 10 games of the season.

And while there is no doubting Jorginho’s technical ability, the former Napoli midfielder has struggled since his move to England. Whilst playing in a double pivot in Lampard’s preferred 4-2-3-1 on Sunday, he failed to deal with the threat of Paul Pogba.

The 27-year-old made more passes (3,118) and had more touches of the ball (3,551) than any other player in the Premier League and will need to dictate the game for the Blues in the absence of N’Golo Kante.


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