UEFA Super Cup: Frank Lampard is looking for lift off in Istanbul
Lampard saw it all in those games. Agony and ecstasy in Champions League semi-finals; delirium in domestic cup finals to simmering fury in the Premier League, Liverpool were always around at the biggest moments. Fitting, then, they have emerged into view so early in his managerial career.
It is impossible to compare collisions from different generations but as Lampard arrived into the broiling heat of Istanbul on Tuesday afternoon, he will know that few dates with Liverpool have come with the potential for such lasting repercussions.
Frank Lampard is aiming to kick-start his managerial career at Chelsea with some silverware
Win inside Vodafone Park – the cavernous home of Besiktas – and Lampard will find that his reign at Stamford Bridge has lift-off; victory in the first all-English European Super Cup final would be significant and, as he pointed out, have lasting implications.
‘I want to win,’ said Lampard. ‘I really want to win. If you can win a European trophy against Liverpool, your name goes down in history.’
Very true. This Liverpool, however, is different to the one with whom he used to trade blows. Jurgen Klopp’s Champions League winners, arguably, represent the biggest hurdle he has faced as a manager and have the potential to inflict maximum damage.
Lampard scored in the win over Liverpool as Chelsea reached 2008 Champions League final
Lampard (centre) also featured in Chelsea’s triumph over the Reds in the 2012 FA Cup final
Coming on the back of Sunday’s 4-0 defeat at Old Trafford, Lampard does not need to endure a night of punishment ahead of a tussle with Leicester on Saturday that is fraught with problems. You could understand, therefore, why he was so eager to make the point of how much this contest means.
‘I know first-hand because we lost two of these finals,’ said Lampard, referencing the defeats to Atletico Madrid (2012) and Bayern Munich (2013). ‘When you work hard to get into this game between two champions it is important that at a club like Chelsea we give everything to win it.
‘It means something to us as a club because it is as another trophy. It also would be a really nice start personally but, more than that, it would be a really good feeling for the players with the season coming up that we can compete with Liverpool. Certainly, we understand the importance.
Chelsea’s new boss was also on the losing end in a Champions League semi-final with the Reds
Lampard emphasised that a defeat in Istanbul does not mean the winning mentality has gone
‘I don’t want to give the squad or a young player the ultimatum that if we don’t win then that’s the winning mentality gone. It’s not. I lost semi-finals, finals and really big games with a really good squad. The big picture is how we work together to become a team.
‘I mentioned Eden Hazard leaving, the circumstances around the transfer ban and we need to be clear because of the situation we are in. We need a fresh start. Yes, we need to have a winning mentality but it’s also about working hard every day to get it. This will be a great start towards that.’
Lampard, clearly, feels some of the things that were said about his team after losing to Manchester United were unfair and he will have taken some solace to hear Klopp, Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane all say at varying times during Liverpool’s media duties that 4-0 was a harsh scoreline.
Klopp has a lot of time for Lampard, based on how he handled Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson at Derby last season, and the German wants to see him do well – but it will only be after they return home from Turkey. Chelsea’s thirst for silverware is certainly replicated in the Klopp’s camp.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has backed Lampard to succeed as manager at Stamford Bridge
Istanbul will forever be special to Liverpool, thanks to one unforgettable May night in 2005, but Klopp wants it be special again – and again. Europe, once again, offers Liverpool the best chance of success and it is not lost on their manager that the Champions League final is here next year.
‘No one will ever forget Istanbul, which is good,’ said Klopp. ‘But we are different people; we are now in the team 2019-20 and that is a pretty good one as well. and I hope we can make this a special place for ourselves. Last season, we won something, we celebrated it and now let’s carry on.
‘Frank did a an outstanding job at derby last year and was unlucky not to get promoted.
Now he is at Chelsea – his club – everything is fresh. Everybody is ready and on their toes. But we are here, too, everything is prepared. So let’s go.’
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