Lift-off for Darwin Nunez as Liverpool lay down marker against Man City in Community Shield

·19-min read
Lift-off for Darwin Nunez as Liverpool lay down marker against Man City in Community Shield - ACTION IMAGES VIA REUTERS
Lift-off for Darwin Nunez as Liverpool lay down marker against Man City in Community Shield - ACTION IMAGES VIA REUTERS
  • Alexander-Arnold fires Klopp's side into first-half lead

  • Alvarez lashes home loose ball to equalise after break

  • Salah nets from spot; Nunez nods home third late on

If this is Liverpool and Manchester City undercooked then perhaps there is little to suggest this season’s title race will be anything but another shootout between the country’s two dominant teams.

City took a lot longer to getting going here than Liverpool, which is perhaps understandable given that their opponents had played twice as many pre-season matches coming into this, but they eventually gathered enough wind in their sails to make this another highly entertaining contest.

Not nearly as intense or high in quality as their two meetings in the Premier League last term - and in the battle of the superstar strikers, there was a clear winner in Darwin Nunez with Erling Haaland such a disappointment - but none of their rivals are likely to feel an extra sense of encouragement when they watch the new season’s curtain raiser back.

Some of the personnel may have changed but the hunger still burns brightly at Liverpool and City and it is going to take a gargantuan effort from any of the chasing pack to leapfrog either of these sides.

Sure, it is going to take time for City to adjust to Haaland or, rather, Haaland to adjust to his new team-mates but it would be foolhardy to read too much into a bad game for the Norway striker, just as Jurgen Klopp was not getting carried away by a goalscoring start for Nunez.

Haaland managed just 16 touches in 90 minutes - only five more than Nunez in practically a third of the time - and completed just six passes although the worst moment came at the very end when he ballooned a shot against the crossbar and over from yards out when it seemed harder to miss.

He at least afforded himself a wry smile and it is hard to believe there are not better days ahead.

Kevin De Bruyne did not look a particularly happy bunny for much of the afternoon and City’s talisman and Haaland coming to a fairly quick understanding will be important for the champions, but Guardiola will be a lot happier with what he saw in the second half than the first.

De Bruyne was far from his scintillating best but it was still his wand of a right foot that helped to fashion the goal from which City cancelled out Trent Alexander-Arnold’s 21st-minute goal.

Haaland has commanded most of City’s headlines this summer but it was another forward signing, the young Argentine Julian Alvarez, who poked home the rebound after Adrian could not hold Phil Foden’s shot from De Bruyne’s cross. From there, it looked like City might go on to win it but Liverpool - and Nunez - had other ideas.

When Mohamed Salah floated over a cross, Nunez was precisely where Klopp wants his record £85 million signing to be, the Uruguayan meeting the ball with a header that hit Ruben Dias on the hand. Referee Craig Pawson missed it but Liverpool were awarded a penalty after a Var review that Salah dispatched coolly with seven minutes to go.

Then came the moment all Liverpool fans had longed for the moment Nunez made his introduction from the bench to huge cheers shortly before the hour mark.

Salah, a persistent threat, crossed from the right and Andrew Robertson rose high to nod the ball down for Nunez, who stooped low to head past Ederson. Nunez was mobbed by team-mates as they celebrated lustily in front of the Liverpool support.

Darwin Nunez celebrated his goal in fine style - GETTY IMAGES
Darwin Nunez celebrated his goal in fine style - GETTY IMAGES

Nunez had been in the thick of things from the moment he came on, drawing what would have been a penalty from Ederson only for the offside flag to rescue the City goalkeeper. Ederson then felt the full force of a Nunez shot to the face as he came rushing out to thwart the Liverpool striker from Jordan Henderson’s astute pass.

Klopp may have moaned about the scheduling of this game, only 63 days after Liverpool lost the Champions League final to Real Madrid in Paris, but you could tell they had played four pre-season games to City’s two prior to this.

Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho belied concerns about Liverpool’s midfield heading into the new campaign to dominate the midfield exchanges in the first half and Klopp’s side were good value for their lead.

Working the ball from side to side so well and disorganising City in the process, Liverpool should probably have scored when Robertson headed Alexander-Arnold’s cross into the side-netting but there was no let off for their opponents soon after.

Trent Alexander-Arnold opened the scoring for Liverpool - REUTERS
Trent Alexander-Arnold opened the scoring for Liverpool - REUTERS

Liverpool worked the ball out to the left then back to the right, where Salah rolled a pass into the path of Alexander-Arnold in a central right position. Rather than cross, the England defender elected to shoot this time, his effort gathering pace once it deflected off the back of Nathan Ake’s head to leave Ederson no chance.

City’s hopes of signing Marc Cucurella have faded after Brighton brought an end to talks over the champions’ refusal to meet their £50 million asking price but it is easy to see why Guardiola craves a specialist left-back.

Liverpool sought to isolate Joao Cancelo and ask Salah to attack the space in behind the City left-back. Several openings came Liverpool’s way via that point of access, none of which Salah could take.

City, and Haaland, briefly flickered into life 10 minutes before the interval. Bernardo crossed from the left to Haaland, who watched Robertson bounce off him as he steered a controlled volley at goal that Adrian saved well. It was as good as it got for him.

City picked up the pace in the second half and equalised during their best period in the game. Foden was originally ruled offside from De Bruyne’s pass that led to Alvarez popping home the rebound but a Var review determined that Foden was onside.

Alvarez was not immediately aware the goal had been awarded as he was coping an earful of instruction from Guardiola on the touchline at the time. Welcome to Pep’s world, Julian.

City’s celebrations would not last too long, though. This was Liverpool - and Nunez’s - day.

Liverpool beat Man City to win Community Shield - as it happened

07:43 PM

That's all folks

We'll have James Ducker's full match report at the top of the blog shortly - and you can relive the 2022 Community Shield final by scrolling down through our updates below.

07:32 PM

Here's Jurgen Klopp

Who was talking to ITV:

"Two teams who were far away from their best but what both teams made of what we had available today was incredible.

"I liked the game a lot, but most of the time City games [against us] are really cool to watch. We don't always win them but they're always entertaining, like today.

"I was happy with the start of the game but I have to say all our subs made a real difference. That was the most important thing I learned today - the boys are ready.

"[Darwin Nunez] was involved in all dangerous situations and it opened up for us - we could use the spaces and he was in finishing moments as well. A good game."

07:24 PM

Decent celebration from Nunez

Who certainly enjoyed his first Liverpool goal. He got a yellow card for his troubles but doubt he'll be too fussed.

Darwin Nunez clinched the win with his late header - GETTY IMAGES
Darwin Nunez clinched the win with his late header - GETTY IMAGES
And celebrates in front of the Liverpool fans - GETTY IMAGES
And celebrates in front of the Liverpool fans - GETTY IMAGES

07:18 PM

The trophy lift moment

07:10 PM

Reaction from Trent Alexander-Arnold

On the win

"This one means a lot, to be honest. I think this is the third time we've been in [the Community Shield] and we haven't been able to win it [until now] so that was our ambition going into it.

"We prepared hard this pre-season and this was our aim, our season started today. It was important for us to get off on the right foot and get a win - and especially get some silverware on board.

"It was a perfect start but it's a long season - and we hope to win trophies along the way."

On his goal

"I just tried to make a good connection send it towards goal, it got a deflection which wasn't too big and I'm always happy to contribute to goals and that was an important one as well."

 

On Darwin Nunez's contribution

"Won the penalty, scored a goal, had a one-on-one - he looks lively, very lively. He's been brought in to score goals and he's proven he can do that today. He's a top player, a young player who wants to learn.

"He's bonded well with the lads... he's come in and got his head down and worked hard so far. He knows that he's got to earn his position - he came on today with a point to prove and he's scored us the goal to clinch it and won the penalty as well."

06:59 PM

FT: Liverpool 3 Man City 1!

A deserved win for Klopp's side, who weathered a decent response from City after the break but got the job done courtesy of two late goals from Salah and Nunez.

The £64m signing from Benfica looked sharp after coming on, winning the penalty and then netting the third with a close-range header.

06:58 PM

96 mins: Liverpool 3 Man City 1

Erling Haaland won't want to watch this one back.

Adrian parries Foden's sharp strike out to the edge of the six-yard box and Haaland latches on to it - but balloons his strike off the top of the crossbar and over!

Erling Haaland blasted his effort over the bar from six yards out - ITV
Erling Haaland blasted his effort over the bar from six yards out - ITV

06:55 PM

GOALLL!!! Nunez! Liverpool 3 Man City 1

Lovely team move finished off with a stooping header from the Uruguayan!!

He's made a massive impact since coming off the bench and he gets a massive hug from his manager after that one!

06:51 PM

90 mins: Liverpool 2 Man City 1

We will have seven minutes of added time(!)

06:48 PM

87 mins: Liverpool 2 Man City 1

Inches away from Nunez, who tried to direct Milner's cross inside the far post but his header flew just wide.

06:44 PM

GOALL! Salah! Liverpool 2 Man City 1

Salah makes no mistake from 12 yards!

Low and hard to the keeper's left and Liverpool lead inside the final 10 minutes.

06:43 PM

PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL!

Referee Pawson was asked by his Var chums to have a look at the pitchside monitor, which normally only means one thing - and he has awarded the penalty!

It will be Salah v Ederson from the spot.

Darwin Nunez's header smashed into Ruben Dias's arm - ITV
Darwin Nunez's header smashed into Ruben Dias's arm - ITV

06:42 PM

79 mins: Liverpool 1 Man City 1

This has to be a penalty for Liverpool! Nunez's header from a Salah cross smashes into Dias's arm but the referee waves it away.

Nunez and the Liverpool team in disbelief. Var will have a look...

06:40 PM

78 mins: Liverpool 1 Man City 1

A quick reminder that there will be no extra-time if the scores are level this afternoon - we will head straight to penalties if that is the case.

06:36 PM

74 mins: Liverpool 1 Man City 1

Some subs to update you on after the goal - Milner and Elliott are on for Liverpool and Gundogan has joined the fray for City.

06:33 PM

GOAL! Alvarez! Liverpool 1 Man City 1

After a lengthy Var check the goal is given and we're all square in the Community Shield!

06:32 PM

DISALLOWED GOAL!! Liverpool 1 Man City 0

Foden runs on to a through pass and volleys at Adrian who saves, but then spills the ball under a challenge from the Englishman and Alvarez fires home!

The assistant referee has his flag up but Var is going to have a look...

Also got to be some questions over whether Adrian had the ball under control when Foden challenged him for it.

06:26 PM

64 mins: Liverpool 1 Man City 0   

Big save! Nunez did well to win the ball back with some pressing from the front and then fed Henderson, who released a ball in behind for the towering Uruguayan.

He was one-on-one vs Ederson and tried a dinked finish but the City goalkeeper blocked it with his face!

06:23 PM

61 mins: Liverpool 1 Man City 0 

Electric break down the Liverpool left from Diaz, who charged away from Rodri and swung a left-footed cross over towards Salah.

But it was just slightly overhit which forced the Egyptian too wide and City managed to flood enough bodies back to shut down the attack.

06:19 PM

57 mins: Liverpool 1 Man City 0 

Here come the subs! City replace Grealish and Mahrez with Foden and Alvarez, while Liverpool's big summer signing Nunez comes on for Firmino.

06:15 PM

53 mins: Liverpool 1 Man City 0

Lovely interchange down the Liverpool right between Salah, Henderson and Alexander-Arnold.

The full-back cuts inside and unleashes a left-footed drive which is blocked by some last-ditch City defending.

06:08 PM

47 mins: Liverpool 1 Man City 0

Big chance for Mahrez 60 seconds into the second half!

He peels off Robertson, chests down a chipped through-ball and then cuts inside - but mishits his shot which allows Adrian to save comfortably.

06:06 PM

46 mins: Liverpool 1 Man City 0

We're under way in the second period. No subs at half-time but each side can make up to six changes given this is a designated friendly.

05:51 PM

HT: Liverpool 1 Man City 0

Alexander-Arnold's strike separates the sides at the break.

Liverpool started the livelier and took a deserved lead, but City came into the game as the half progressed.

Haaland had a couple of half-chances but has been well marshalled by Van Dijk and co for the most part.

05:47 PM

45 mins: Liverpool 1 Man City 0

Two minutes of added time to be played.

05:46 PM

42 mins: Liverpool 1 Man City 0   

Wonderful feet from Salah who bamboozles Bernardo Silva and Rodri on the left flank but is just crowded out as he looked to pick a telling pass.

05:41 PM

37 mins: Liverpool 1 Man City 0 

Another half-chance for City, this time Mahrez on the right edge of the box but he takes a bit too much time to get the ball under control and his right-footed effort is blocked by Robertson.

05:37 PM

33 mins: Liverpool 1 Man City 0 

Good save! City have numbers at the back post and work the ball from left to right, where Haaland shrugs off a challenge from Robertson and unleashes an instinctive half-volley which Adrian stoops to save.

Then moments later the big Norwegian has another opportunity but can't direct his diving volley goalwards!

05:34 PM

31 mins: Liverpool 1 Man City 0

Decent spell of possession for City but it's mainly sluggish stuff at the back.

Ake finally launches a long ball over the top and Mahrez unleashes a vicious strike which Adrian parries - but he was miles offside and the flag, eventually, goes up.

05:30 PM

26 mins: Liverpool 1 Man City 0

Decent opportunity for De Bruyne to pick out a team-mate as his side counter-attack but the Belgian misplaces a pass and Liverpool clear.

05:24 PM

GOALL!! Liverpool 1 Man City 0

A lovely strike from Alexander-Arnold who whips it home from the edge of the box (perhaps courtesy of a slight deflection!)

Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates his whipped finish - REUTERS
Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates his whipped finish - REUTERS

05:21 PM

17 mins: Liverpool 0 Man City 0   

This might be a glorified friendly but a couple of meaty challenges on the halfway line have got the crowd roaring!

05:17 PM

13 mins: Liverpool 0 Man City 0 

Side netting again! Alexander-Arnold swings over a delicious ball to the back stick where his full-back colleague Robertson is in acres of space... but the Scot can't find the target with his header!

05:16 PM

12 mins: Liverpool 0 Man City 0 

Sloppy play from Robertson in the centre circle nearly gifts City a counter-attacking chance but Henderson steps in to dispossess De Bruyne and snuff out the opportunity.

05:11 PM

8 mins: Liverpool 0 Man City 0

Electric stuff from De Bruyne, who latches on to a loose ball, takes a touch to set himself and then fires a left-footed strike just wide.

It was actually a decent bit of defending from Van Dijk who closed the Belgian down and deflected the ball out for a corner... which comes to nothing.

05:08 PM

5 mins: Liverpool 0 Man City 0

City nearly caught out at the back as Liverpool dink a quick free-kick over the top to Salah but the Egyptian was just crowded out as he was about to pull the trigger.

05:06 PM

3 mins: Liverpool 0 Man City 0

Close! Lovely play from Salah on the Liverpool right, collecting a long ball from Fabinho then jinking past Joao Cancelo and firing into the side netting!

05:02 PM

Here we go

Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson gets proceedings under way.

05:01 PM

Boos for the national anthem

From the Liverpool end, just as there were at the FA Cup final. An explanation of why the fans have taken to booing the anthem is in Ben Rumsby's piece from earlier on this year.

04:57 PM

The players are out on the pitch

Just the pre-match formalities to be completed and then we'll be under way.

04:42 PM

Some pre-match reading

From Telegraph Sport columnist Jamie Carragher, who believes Erling Haaland's signing - and Liverpool's capture of Darwin Nunez - has given hope to the rest of the Premier League.

04:30 PM

450 up for Jordan Henderson

The Liverpool captain makes his 450th appearance for the club today.

Jordan Henderson will lead his side out this afternoon - GETTY IMAGES
Jordan Henderson will lead his side out this afternoon - GETTY IMAGES

04:19 PM

Why isn't the Community Shield at Wembley?

There's one very simple reason.

There happens to be a massive game at the home of English football tomorrow, with the Lionesses going for Euro 2022 glory against Germany.

We will have live coverage of that one for you across Telegraph Sport.

04:06 PM

Erling Haaland starts for Man City!

There is no Darwin Nunez in Liverpool's line-up but City's big summer signing starts at the King Power this afternoon!

Man City XI: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Ake, Cancelo, Rodri, Bernardo Silva, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Haaland, Grealish.

Subs: Ortega Moreno, Phillips, Stones, Gundogan, Alvarez, Foden, Mbete, Palmer, Wilson-Esbrand.

04:03 PM

Liverpool team news

No messing about from Jurgen Klopp who has picked a really strong starting XI.

Alisson misses out with injury which is why Adrian starts in goal - and new signing Darwin Nunez has to make do with a place on the bench.

Liverpool XI: Adrian, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Thiago, Henderson, Salah, Firmino, Diaz.

Subs: Davies, Gomez, Konate, Milner, Keita, Jones, Elliott, Nunez, Carvalho.

03:48 PM

Good afternoon

Welcome to our live coverage of Liverpool vs Manchester City in the Community Shield, the traditional curtain-raiser to the top-flight campaign.

These two sides have dominated English football in the past few seasons, and it would be no surprise to see them battling for the Premier League title yet again this year.

How much this game will tell us about any prospective title tussle remains to be seen - and it will also be interesting to see how both managers line up today at the King Power Stadium, which is hosting the clash with the Euro 2022 final between England and Germany taking place at Wembley tomorrow.

You'd imagine neither Jurgen Klopp nor Pep Guardiola wants to give their rivals any chance of a minor mental edge ahead of the campaign but that has to be balanced against the continuing pre-season training requirements.

Both sides also have slightly rejigged attacking options this year, with trusted goal-getters Raheem Sterling and Sadio Mane replaced by shiny young things Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez - and it could be a first real glimpse of how those new cogs fit into two well-oiled winning machines.

However, Klopp has already suggested it will be reinvigoration rather than reinvention for his side.

The German said: "We want to be the team no one wants to play against because when they have the ball, they have pressure everywhere and when we have the ball we have to have more consistency and then when we have the ball, we have to create new ways, we have to help the boys with positioning, not invent ourselves new, that is not necessary but include new things here and there. That is what we were really working on."

Today's game kicks off at 5pm live on ITV. We will have all the pre-match build-up for you before then and then live updates throughout.