Liverpool faced Manchester City in the FA Community Shield, with the first piece of silverware on offer.
The match started off in a fast-paced manner with both sides not holding back. Mo Salah was tormenting Joao Cancelo, hitting the side netting within three minutes. At the other end, Kevin De Bruyne had a strong shot deflected away by Virgil van Dijk.
City were looking sluggish, which allowed Liverpool to step up and take the lead. The Reds attacked down the right, with Salah laying the ball for Alexander-Arnold to swing it into the net.
Haaland had a half chance to equalise, but his shot was saved by Adrian. City were prodding along without any real urgency. Riyad Mahrez was trying to conjure up something but ran into traffic most times. Liverpool were comfortable with the lead as the halftime whistle went.
The second half was more of the same as the two sides felt each other out. There were no risks taken, as each team played patiently for the most parts. City were trying to get the ball to Haaland, but the defence snuffed him out.
Liverpool brought on Darwin Nunez who had a great chance saved. However, it was another new boy, Julian Alvarez who bundled the ball home after Adrian saved from Phil Foden’s shot.
The match took another turn as Liverpool were awarded a penalty after Ruben Dias handled a Nunez header. Salah made no mistake from the spot as Liverpool went ahead with seven minutes remaining.
Nunez scored his debut goal from a header in injury time as Liverpool ran out deserved winners of the FA Community Shield.
Here are the three key takeaways from the match:
Liverpool the better side
Jurgen Klopp’s men were the more dominant team on the day. They were much more energetic in their forward play, with Diaz and Salah exploiting the flanks. The Egyptian got the better of Cancelo on multiple occasions, including for the cross that led to the penalty. The only blemish was the goal conceded, which Adrian spilled.
90+4' – Salah's cross is headed down into the ground by Robertson and Nunez heads in!
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 30, 2022
However, that would hardly bother the Reds as Salah’s penalty sealed matters. Earlier on, it was Alexander-Arnold with a masterful finish that further highlighted his importance to the side. Nunez showed he has plenty to offer, and would only get better.
City stutter to lose
Second-best for most of the match, City never really got going. Pep Guardiola would surely be taking a lot of notes from this, including the anonymity of Haaland. The Norwegian had one good chance, before missing another. However, it was all mostly passive play from City, which focused on moving side-to-side. Cancelo and Walker highlighted the need for more full-backs. Nathan Ake was okay, but Guardiola would wish he had Aymeric Laporte back soon. It was all a bit lethargic and unthreatening, nothing that Liverpool could not manage. Alvarez was a bright spark, whose running and energy will matter a lot in the league season. Haaland hit the bar towards the end but the match had already slipped away.
Need more from new signings
Though Nunez got a goal, both he and Haaland would want to improve their play. Granted, they are still learning the systems and settling in, but it is an unforgiving league. City and Liverpool both are relying heavily on their star strikers to get them goals that could make the difference when it comes to deciding the title.