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August 16, 2019

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Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian goes from club-less to hero

Spanish goalkeeper Adrian was without a club two weeks ago, one of the many free agents searching for employment for the upcoming season — on Wednesday he was Liverpool’s penalty shoot-out savior in its UEFA Super Cup victory over Chelsea in Istanbul.

The 32-year-old was released by West Ham United at the end of last season but handed an English Premier League lifeline last week by Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp, who drafted him as back-up to Brazilian first-choice Alisson Becker.

A season of warming the bench, with perhaps some Cup appearances awaited but in Liverpool’s opening EPL game against Norwich City last Friday, Alisson suffered a calf injury and Adrian was thrust into action at Anfield.

He was then given the starting job in the annual clash between the UEFA Champions League winner and the Europa League victor and after the game ended 2-2 he saved the decisive final penalty, blocking Tammy Abraham’s shot with his legs.

Klopp mimicked Silver Stallone in the Rocky movies when he yelled “Adrian!” into the television microphone and he was clearly appreciative of his goalkeeper’s efforts.

“I don’t know where Adrian was two weeks ago when we played Manchester City,” said Klopp after seeing his European champions win the Super Cup for the fourth time.

“When I spoke to him for the first time it was clear he would need time to get fit, but we didn’t have that time so he has to be fit now, and he was fit, he played an incredible game, he made sensational saves.

“What a story. He kept his nerves together. He’s loud in the dressing room already. I don’t think he’s won a lot in his life so it’s good for him to win it.”

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk said he had backed the goalkeeper to win the game.

“I told Adrian before penalties he could be the hero and he did it so I’m happy for him and for the club,” said the Dutchman.

Adrian himself acknowledged that he had undergone a whirlwind few days.

“Welcome to Liverpool!” he told BT Sport. “It was a crazy week but with (my teammates) it’s so easy playing at the back.

“I’m really happy for the team to get the trophy. I’m really happy to play for Liverpool and really happy for the fans.

“It was a long game but at the end it was a great finish.”


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