Kante 8/10, Pulisic 7/10 but Chelsea suffer penalty shootout defeat in UEFA Super Cup
A penalty-shootout defeat against Liverpool (2-2 after extra time) will be a tough one to take, but Frank Lampard can take plenty of encouragement from his side's display in the UEFA Super Cup in Istanbul. After Sunday's 4-0 season-opening loss to Man United, this was a much-improved display in nearly every way.
N'Golo Kante's return to fitness gave the Chelsea midfield a huge injection of energy and quality, while Christian Pulisic showed he has the potential to at least fill some of the void left by Eden Hazard's departure. There were also encouraging signs defensively, with the Blues looking much more compact at the back.
Despite an excellent performance, Chelsea came out of the game empty-handed, which could cause some heads to drop in the Blues camp. Tough tests lie ahead, and experienced heads will need to ensure there's no Super Cup hangover in the weeks to come.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Lampard's inclusion of Kante gave the Chelsea side a much-needed lift following a deflating defeat at Manchester United on Sunday, and the decision to start Pulisic over Mount was rewarded with an excellent full debut by the American.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Kepa Arrizabalaga, 6 -- The Spaniard was unconvincing for Liverpool's equalizer when he failed to get two hands on a loose ball to allow Sadio Mane an easy finish. Redeemed himself, however, with a stunning double-save to deny Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk late in the second half, but will be disappointed to have not saved a couple of Liverpool's spot-kicks in the shootout.
DF Cesar Azpilicueta, 6 -- The experienced full-back looked much more assured this time around than at Old Trafford at the weekend. Good work up the field from Pedro numbed the threat of Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson, allowing the Chelsea man to have a relatively untroubled evening.
DF Andreas Christensen, 6 -- He was on hand to provide an important header away to deny Mane a tap-in at 0-0, and enjoyed a surprisingly comfortable first half before Liverpool began to get a grip on the game.
DF Kurt Zouma, 6 -- Zouma has an air of clumsiness about him, but his no-nonsense approach to balls in behind meant he avoided any hairy moments in the penalty area. Could've won it at the death in normal time but headed over.
DF Emerson Palmieri, 7 -- The Chelsea left-back will be surprised at how little he was tested by a Liverpool attack that was nowhere near its fluent best. Going forward the Brazilian offered plenty of support in attack and capped off a decent night with a successful penalty in the shootout.
MF N'Golo Kante, 8 -- An outstanding display from the World Cup winner on his first start of the season. The Frenchman was at his energetic and destructive best early on to help absorb Liverpool pressure, and grew more and more influential as an attacking force as the game wore on.
MF Jorginho, 7 -- The Italy international saw plenty of the ball throughout, and his quick distribution helped his side bypass a lacklustre Liverpool midfield press. He expertly slotted away his extra-time penalty with his signature run-up, before doing the same again in the shootout.
MF Mateo Kovacic, 6 -- A quiet game in comparison to his midfield colleagues, and the Croatian will be hoping to have a much bigger impact on games as the season progresses.
FW Pedro, 7 -- The 32-year-old's movement and flexibility gave Liverpool a host of problems across the Reds' back line, and he was at the heart of everything good about Chelsea's attacking play.
FW Christian Pulisic, 7 -- Chelsea's new winger will be extremely pleased with his first start in a Blues shirt. Pulisic started brightly, culminating in a great driving run through the Liverpool half before providing the pass for Olivier Giroud to finish for the opening goal. After that, he continued to provide a threat before being subbed on 74 minutes.
FW Olivier Giroud, 7 -- The centre-forward was feeding off scraps as Liverpool dominated the opening quarter of an hour, but soon began to enjoy much better service from his midfield, before clinically taking his chance from Pulisic for the opener.
FW Mason Mount, 6 -- Always a willing runner, and carried the ball well as the game became stretched. Drew a superb one-handed save from Adrian in extra time, and fired a brilliant penalty into the top corner during the shootout.
FW Tammy Abraham, 5 -- Won the Chelsea penalty in extra time, before somehow missing a glorious chance of his own at 2-2. The unfortunate one to miss the vital penalty in the shootout.
DF Fikayo Tomori, N/R -- Didn't catch the eye one way or another after replacing Christensen near the end of regulation.
MF Ross Barkley, N/R -- Failed to make an impact as an extra-time sub for Kovacic, but confidently dispatched his penalty.