Jurgen Klopp may have been trying to avoid a flashy penalty shootout, an instant comparison between two attacking signings. He delayed Darwin Nunez’s debut and held him back while Erling Haaland started for Manchester City. But the Uruguayan ended his Liverpool arc after opening his account, making an explosive impression and winning the Community Shield. It was quite a start.
His 40-minute threat trumped Haaland’s 90-minute impotence, topped by a glaring miss in stoppage time. He hit the bar but his 16th touch of the game was his worst as the goal was wide open.
The Norwegian was in the spotlight not only by his Anfield counterpart but also by the other attacker City signed, with Julian Alvarez topping his arc with a robbing goal, and the one Liverpool re-signed with Mohamed Salah Liverpool’s lead in his first game after his approval restored the most lucrative contract in their history.
It came indirectly because of Nunez. His cameo warranted the description of an immediate effect. Ederson denied him a goal when he prevailed. He deflected a header just past a post. His header threat was very obvious and when Ruben Dias unknowingly played his header inside the penalty area, the referees initially ignored it.
A check on the monitor later, Craig Pawson missed a penalty and Salah drilled it under Ederson. After 31 goals last season, he already has one and he looked razor sharp: his habit of making flying starts to the season could be continued.
Yet even Salah clinched the second bill, despite assisting Liverpool’s first goal and playing a role in the third, slamming a cross into the back post. Andy Robertson headed it back over the area and Nunez lunged forward to put the finishing touches.
Three goals yielded a third trophy of 2022 and if the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Community Shield aren’t the most prestigious trebles, Klopp extended his record of wins over Pep Guardiola to 11 and Liverpool showed more intensity and looked more ready out for the season.
Their last two competitive games had brought disappointments in the competitions they valued most, costing them the Premier League and Champions League respectively, but while City played them in May they inflicted Guardiola with a second consecutive Community Shield defeat. As last season showed, this need not stand in the way of his ambitions, even if Haaland’s nondescript bow was unpromising.
Liverpool had started brighter as Salah flew past Joao Cancelo, who he took aim at, and fired a shot into the side netting. Still, they had spent 2022 collecting shots in the final without scoring. After drawing a gap in the Carabao Cup, FA Cup and the Champions League, they scored a late debut, although the decisive touch was delivered by a City player, Nathan Akes’ header, which deflected the ball past Ederson. The rest of the move was nice, Thiago Alcantara chipped a diagonal pass, Salah put it down and Trent Alexander-Arnold rolled a shot. After a sobering Champions League final in which he was arguably responsible for Vinicius Junior’s winner, this was reminiscent of Alexander-Arnold’s attacking excellence.
City needed time to react, although they improved after introducing Phil Foden and Alvarez. Each of their first three up front didn’t seem to be at their best, leaving them to rely on their midfielders. Bernardo Silva brought a willingness to run on, Kevin de Bruyne a shot and quality, whether it was a scraping shot into the side netting or his part in Alvarez’s equalizer in the 70th minute.
It was initially disallowed before it became clear that neither he nor Foden were offside when the Mancunier volleyed into a Kevin de Bruyne cross, which Adrian brilliantly blocked before Alvarez pocketed the rebound.
Liverpool’s third-choice goalkeeper and 2019 European Super Cup hero was unlucky then but showed a talent for the big event with great saves, particularly from Riyad Mahrez.
Liverpool impressed with Virgil van Dijk making Haaland the most famous spectator of the game. Thiago added elegance to the energy, the former Guardiola player in the Klopp team being the game’s finest passer. At his side, Jordan Henderson marked his 450th Liverpool appearance with a performance that combined determination with quality. And at the end another trophy to lift.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/liverpool-man-city-result-report-community-shield-2022-b2134806.html Liverpool vs Man City: final standings, result and Community Shield report at King Power Stadium