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Keeper Adrian aims to grab Pool opportunity with both hands

Penalty king: Adrian after his Super Cup heroics
Penalty king: Adrian after his Super Cup heroics

By Simon Peach

Adrian has gone from free agent to Liverpool hero in just over a week 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 week 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 last Friday night 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 shoot-out as he denied substitute Abraham to secure a 5-4 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 of a hard summer for me, a different one, because I didn't know when I was going to start with a team or another team, the Spanish league or not. But 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. 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 (away to Southampton)!"

But it is hard to blame the goalkeeper for being last on the Liverpool bus after his instrumental - and unlikely - role in Liverpool's Super Cup success.

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