Istanbul is already a special place for the Reds following their stunning Champions League triumph against AC Milan in 2005, and once again the Turkish city played host to a continental success for the Anfield giants.
Olivier Giroud put Chelsea ahead in the first half, only for Sadio Mane to level as the match went to extra-time. Mane scored again before Adrian brought Tammy Abraham down in the box, allowing Jorginho to make it 2-2.
Just as against Milan 14 years ago, it took penalties to split the sides as Adrian wrote his name into folklore at a club he only joined at the start of last week.
“What a story – Adrian. Like Rocky,” Klopp told BT Sport, referencing the film released in 1977 when the underdog fighter cries out to his girlfriend Adrian after going 15 rounds with heavyweight champion Apollo Creed.
The former West Ham goalkeeper was handed his first Liverpool start in the Super Cup due to Alisson Becker’s calf injury and the Spaniard denied Abraham to secure a 5-4 spot-kick success.
ANOTHER PENALTY SHOOTOUT WIN IN ISTANBUL!!— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 14, 2019
SUPER CUP CHAMPIONS!!! pic.twitter.com/sZaxIfK9hY
“I don’t know where he was two weeks ago when we were playing Manchester City,” Klopp said at the post-match press conference, referring to the Reds’ Community Shield shootout loss.
“When I spoke to him the first time, it was clear he would take time to get fit. But he has to be fit now and he is.
“He had an incredible game and both goalkeepers made sensational saves, but with Adrian it’s a bit more surprising because it was without pretty much any preparation.
“I don’t know when he played his last game for West Ham, being ready like he was incredible.
“He has already shown me he is a proper personality in the dressing room as well – he was maybe even louder than I was at half-time. He was really on his toes, and that helps us.
“Making the save from the penalty is the icing on the cake. I saw he even had time to grab his towel before celebrating, so he’s obviously quick in mind. He has helped us a lot and can be really proud what he did tonight.”
The win was not without controversy as pictures showed the goalkeeper off his line before saving Abraham’s penalty.
That subject did not come up in the post-match press conference, with Klopp hugely impressed by the performance of referee Stephanie Frappart, who became the first female official to take charge of a major UEFA men’s competition event.
“I spoke to the ref team after the game that if we had played like they whistled, then we would have won 6-0,” the Reds boss said.
“They played a brilliant game. I also said I wasn’t happy with the penalty decision as I’m still not sure but it’s not important any more.
“They were good, they were really good. There was pressure on them like hell. It was an historic moment and they stayed themselves, stayed calm and did what they had to do in a very difficult and intense game.
“I couldn’t have more respect to be honest. It was a really brilliant performance.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea counterpart Frank Lampard told Abraham “not to worry” after his missed spot-kick proved the difference.
“I have been there, missed penalties. Anyone can,” Lampard said.
“I want the confidence of a young player to stand up and want to do that. I said not to worry. He will come back stronger.
“It is part and parcel of being a player in the top level, which Tammy now is. These moments come.
“We have to be very supportive of him. His team-mates were, I certainly am. That is football.”
It was a galling loss fresh on the back of Sunday’s 4-0 humbling at Manchester United, but recently-appointed manager Lampard remained upbeat.
“My overall feeling from the game is one of pride in the team’s performance and happiness,” he said.
“I don’t like losing, I’m a terrible loser as you should be at Chelsea. We wanted to win, but we were very unfortunate today.
“I am proud of the players and if that is a sign of what we can do today then this season we can get better and it’s a really good sign.”
Adrian has gone from free agent to Liverpool hero in nine rollercoaster days after his controversial match-winning penalty save in the Super Cup shoot-out against Chelsea.
Having ended his stay with West Ham when his contract expired at the end of last season, the 32-year-old finally found a new home last Monday as he headed to Anfield as replacement for departing back-up Simon Mignolet.
What already looked a great move swiftly became a dream switch for Adrian, who was thrust into the spotlight on Friday following Alisson Becker’s first-half injury in the Premier League opener against Norwich.
The Brazil No.1’s calf complaint led to the Spaniard’s first Liverpool start on Wednesday, when several fine stops threatened to be overshadowed by the fact he brought down Tammy Abraham for a penalty that Jorginho scored to leave it at 2-2 after extra-time.
But Adrian made amends in the resulting penalties as he denied substitute Abraham to secure a 5-4 shoot-out victory and more continental success for Liverpool in Istanbul.
“I was waiting to sign for a club, like a few months after the end of the season,” the Reds goalkeeper said after winning the Super Cup.
“So, I didn’t know in that moment that Liverpool would come to me and call me saying ‘Adrian, come on, come to us because Mignolet has an offer’ and they let him go.
“And obviously it was a bit hard summer for me, a different one, because I didn’t know when I was going to a start with a team or another team, the Spanish league or not.
“But, at the end of the day, it was a great decision to come here, to give that title, the first one to Liverpool.
“Obviously everything is going so quick. I made my debut on Friday because Ali got an injury, (then) the first starting 11 today. What a win, what a win on penalties.”
Adrian’s joy was as palpable as it was understandable after lifting the Super Cup at Besiktas Park, where there was some debate about his match-winning stop.
Pictures showed that the Liverpool goalkeeper had both feet off his line before saving Abraham’s spot-kick, leading to widespread debate online.
“Do you know, it is really difficult to be on the line because we need a step forward to push,” Adrian said about the winning save.
“But, in the end, we need to wait until he strikes. I knew his strong side was my left, so I tried to go there and save with my right foot.”
Adrian was subjected to two sharp whistles from manager Jurgen Klopp as he gave that answer, with the irked German shouting “Adrian, come on – we play on Saturday!”
But it is hard blame the goalkeeper for being last on the Liverpool bus after his instrumental – and unlikely – role in Liverpool’s Super Cup success.
“This is great,” he said earlier in the interview. “To get a title is magnificent – and to win in this way, obviously is more than double happy.
“I am really proud for all the team-mates, for the fans that came to support us tonight. And also for myself because I (had an) easy debut at Anfield like I did on Friday because Ali got an injury.
“I don’t know, goalkeeper life is like this. We need to be ready for everything, so I came to show that Adrian is at a great level and tonight was a great moment, saving that penalty.”
Press Association Sport
Liverpool forward Sadio Mane declared “I’m ready” for Wednesday’s UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea, despite his gruelling schedule.
Mane, 27, followed the Reds’ stellar run to the 2018/19 Champions League with defeat in the final of last month’s Africa Cup of Nations in Senegal.
This meant little downtime in another packed summer.
See his emphatic response when asked about fatigue above: