Liverpool new boy Darwin Nunez hit first blood in the summer super-signing battle with an encouraging 30-minute cameo, which was capped with the final goal in a 3-1 win over Manchester City in the Community Shield.
City, last season’s Premier League champions, and Liverpool, FA and Carabao Cup winners, both paraded their big-money takeovers at Leicester’s King Power Stadium in Leicester, but it was the Uruguay international who outclassed City’s Erling Haaland. Gave.
Nunez came off the bench in the 59th minute with a 1–1 score and his aerial presence won a late penalty as Mohamed Salah put Liverpool in front for the second time.
But the former Benfica striker, who had previously been denied a goal by City goalkeeper Ederson, did not finish there and stayed in extra time to make his first home run for the Reds in domestic competition.
A new City signing made its mark – £14m former River Plate forward Julian Alvarez climbed onto the bench to cancel Trent Alexander-Arnold’s opener – but the focus was really on the big men above.
The traditional season played out as expected with the top two sides from curtain-raiser country once again, but it was the specifics of what the new signing could bring that attracted intrigue.
Haaland scored 86 goals in 89 appearances for Borussia Dortmund before his summer move and once he and he adjust to each other, he is likely to add many more for City.
The Norway international had the fewest touches of any player in the first half – eight – and the serve he got was meager.
But that didn’t mean he wasn’t a threat and when Andy Robertson initially ousted him from Bernardo Silva’s cross, the 22-year-old reacted fastest to fire a shot, which was dismissed as third choice. Goalkeeper Adrian batted.
Later his next attempt from another Silva cross didn’t go so well as it came to him at an awkward height and he couldn’t decide what to do with it and completely miskicked.
But he saved his worst last time when he blasted against the crossbar when facing an open goal six yards into extra time.
Nez, however, upheld Jurgen Klopp’s decision to continue his unification from the bench.
The 23-year-old scored four goals in the second half in a pre-season friendly against RB Leipzig, but that was not enough to convince his manager to start him.
But he was a bundle of energy when he was introduced and, unlike City with Haaland, Liverpool were better equipped to complement his talent.
Virtually with his first touch he was brought down by Ederson, who was spared by an offside flag, and then went out to block Nunez’s shot to his chest after City goalkeeper Jordan Henderson fielded him.
Nez is a traditional number nine and the lesser multi-tasker player Klopp usually prefers, but this can work to his advantage and the ball ends up in Ruben Dias’ hand when he tops off under the head. .
Referee Craig Pawson dismissed the handball claims, but was advised to consult the pitchside monitor, awarded a penalty and overtook Salah Ederson.
But Nez didn’t end there and his hunter instinct saw him head home with Robertson’s knock in extra time.
In the 21st minute, Alexander-Arnold had a pulsating end to the game with a Liverpool forward, which was dwindled and swept away.
Thiago Alcantara’s cross was hit immediately under the foot of Salah, whose pass rolled invitingly on the way to full-back, who hit a shot that slid off Nathan Acke’s head on the way to the far post .
City improved in the second half and Alvarez, introduced at the same time as Nez, equalized in the 70th minute after Adrian saved Phil Foden’s opening attempt, but thwarted the rebound.
VAR checked offside and although the goalkeeper appeared to have two hands on the ball, the goal was legalized after a long delay, meaning the new signings following in the footsteps of Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez were only the third Argentine. Was about to score. community Shield.
However, he will still play a second role for Haaland, while Nez has begun the process of establishing himself as a long-term substitute for Liverpool and ensuring Sadio Mane’s summer sale to Bayern Munich soon becomes an idea .