Arsenal picked up where they left off last season as they beat Liverpool on penalties to win the Community Shield at Wembley.
Less than a month after the Gunners beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final on the same ground, they were back in action, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the hero of that game, opened the scoring with a wonderful first-half strike before Takumi Minamino’s first goal for Liverpool levelled 17 minutes from time.
That forced spot-kicks and Rhian Brewster, brought on in stoppage time to take one, clipped the bar with his effort as Arsenal scored all five of theirs, Aubameyang fittingly sealing the win.
After his brilliant form at the end of last season, Emiliano Martinez was preferred in goal to Bernd Leno, despite having missed the win over MK Dons earlier this week while in quarantine. William Saliba will have to wait for his debut after was only being named among the substitutes, while none of Willian, Alexandre Lacazette or Nicolas Pepe were available to feature.
Liverpool, meanwhile, were without Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold, so Neco Williams and James Milner were brought into an otherwise full strength XI.
The Reds had the ball in the net after only seven minutes as Virgil van Dijk steered home from close range, but Jurgen Klopp’s joy was short-lived as the flag quickly went up.
Just five minutes later, they were behind as Aubameyang capped a terrific team move by latching onto Bukayo Saka’s cross-field pass and crashing a stunning finish into the far corner, his celebration paying tribute to the late Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman.
It might have been two soon after, Alisson Becker alert to push Eddie Nketiah’s low striker round the post after more good work from Saka.
Liverpool eventually built a spell of pressure, with Andy Robertson’s dangerous crosses from the left causing Arsenal problems, but Martinez was still relatively untested by half-time.
That changed after the break, as the Argentine made a crucial block to deny Sadio Mane after the Senegalese had got in down the left, before comfortably holding a long-range effort from Minamino.
It was the Japanese who did finally give the champions the leveller their second-half pressure deserved, the ball breaking into his path after some attempted link-up with Mo Salah.
Mane might have settled it without the need for spot-kicks but was thwarted again by Martienz, while at the other end substitute Joe Willock nodded wide when excellently placed.
But it was Arsenal who would prevail 5-4 on penalties as Mikel Arteta tasted more Wembley joy.