The Super Cup has long been part of the footballing calendar, but other than the two teams involved, nobody has seemed to really care. Along with the Community Shield, it’s often been seen as a glorified friendly, or the season’s opening ceremony at best….until now. This season this is all changing, as the rivalry between top managers Jurgen Klopp and Pep Gaurdiola has spilled over into the new season. Their hunger for trophies means that even these nominal competitions have become more than just a fun spectacle, and UEFA have certainly jumped on board!
The timing of the fixture now ensures that The Super Cup is not just a pre-season friendly. Extra time has also been added, in an effort to prove to spectators that they should be taking this competition seriously. Perhaps the biggest piece of marketing however, came in the form of female referees and lineswomen. The more suspicious amongst us might think this a poorly veiled attempt at gaining credit, in the wake of countless prior offences on the part of UEFA. Regardless, it has certainly taken advantage of the growth of football among women and created a talking point.
Another talking point has been VAR this season. Cast your mind back to the Wolves vs Leicester game, in which a goal for Wolves was disallowed with the use of VAR. Nobody protested the goal. The ball hit Boly’s upper arm from about a metre away with his arms by his side. The ball then took another deflection before being hit into the net. This goal was overturned and disallowed by VAR. Yesterday, a goal-bound shot was clearly blocked by an outstretched hand in the penalty area. No overturning of the original, no penalty decision. Chelsea’s penalty upon review was more than dubious, and yet still given as it needs to be an obvious refereeing error. Was it at Wolves or Manchester City where Sterling was offside by a shoulder for that matter? In cricket and rugby league, where there is not clarity the on-field referee’s decision is final. The Premier League seem to be using VAR as an omnipotent overlord in which the on-field referee is little more than a pawn used to administer their instruction.
On a more positive note, congratulations to Liverpool and in particular new signing Adrian who, until a few weeks ago didn’t have a club, and yet literally just saved them from missing out on another trophy.
See below for some unbearable Liverpool tweets: