ISTANBUL – Them again. In his previous life as a Chelsea player, Frank Lampard faced up to Liverpool 39 times, and those fixtures helped define his legacy.
Lampard saw it all in those games.
Agony and ecstasy in Champions League semi-finals, delirium in domestic cup finals and simmering fury in the Premier League.
Liverpool were always around at the biggest moments. Fitting, then, that they have appeared so early in his managerial career.
It is impossible to compare collisions from different generations but as Lampard arrived in the broiling heat of Istanbul yesterday, he will know that few dates with Liverpool have come with the potential for such lasting repercussions.
Win inside Vodafone Park, the 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 side, however, is different to the one with whom he used to trade blows.
Jurgen Klopp’s Champions League winners have the potential to inflict maximum damage. 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 point out 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 another trophy. It also would be a nice start personally. More than that, it would be a good feeling for the players that we can compete with Liverpool with the season coming up. We understand the importance.
“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 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.”