Liverpool vs Man City: Darwin Nunez's dramatic late cameo helps Reds to Community Shield win

Liverpool vs Man City: Darwin Nunez's dramatic late cameo helps Reds to Community Shield win Darwin Nunez wheels away in celebration after sealing Community Shield victory for Liverpool

Darwin Nunez's superb cameo from the bench helped Liverpool lay down an early marker ahead of the new season as they beat Manchester City 3-1 to win the Community Shield at the King Power Stadium.

Many of the headlines ahead of the game were focused on Man City's new striker Erling Haaland, who was handed the opportunity to impress from the start, but it was Nunez's late introduction from the bench - including a stoppage-time goal - that swung the game in Liverpool's favour and grabbed all the plaudits.

Haaland struggled to stamp his mark on the game as Liverpool dominated the early stages, and their early control was rewarded when Trent Alexander-Arnold's long-range strike took a flick off the head of Nathan Ake before beating the dive of Ederson and finding the far corner. City clawed their way back into the game after the break as substitute Julian Alvarez bundled the ball home from close range, with the goal eventually given after VAR overturned an original offside call. However, it was Liverpool's new striker that stole the show when he was eventually introduced from the bench - it was his goalbound header that was blocked by Ruben Dias' arm, and after a VAR review, referee Craig Pawson pointed to the spot. It handed Mohamed Salah the chance to edge the Reds ahead and he made no mistake, firing the ball past Ederson before Nunez capped a superb day for Klopp's men, heading home from close range as last season's FA Cup winners secured the first silverware of the season.

How Liverpool claimed early bragging rights in the season curtain-raiser...

Liverpool set a blistering pace at the King Power Stadium with Mohamed Salah at the heart of it. The Egyptian waltzed into the penalty area and past Joao Cancelo, but his powerful drive could only find the side-netting. Man City weren't really in the contest in the early stages, but out of nothing Kevin De Bruyne burst past Virgil van Dijk, but again, his low strike nestled into the side-netting. However, Liverpool's continued dominance eventually told in the 21st minute. Thiago Alcantara's cross was brought down by Salah who rolled a pass back into the path of Trent Alexander-Arnold, who whipped a shot which just flicked off the head of Nathan Ake and went in off the far post. It was proving to be a difficult assignment for Man City as they struggled to get new recruit Erling Haaland into the game. However, two chances fell his way in a matter of seconds towards the end of the first half. First, he used his physicality to hold off Andy Robertson before seeing his low shot parried by Adrian. Seconds later, the Norway striker drifted away from Van Dijk to reach Bernardo Silva's cross, but he failed to make enough contact with a hooked shot. The rebound did fall for Riyad Mahrez but he was unable to generate enough power to beat Adrian at his near post as Liverpool kept hold of their lead going into the break. Nunez finally made it onto the pitch with half-an-hour to go and with almost his first touch he was brought down by Ederson. However, referee Craig Pawson was spared a decision to make by an offside flag. The Uruguay international was then played in through the middle by Jordan Henderson but Ederson charged out to block with his chest. As the game became more open, counter-attacking opportunities increased City capitalised from one. Although Adrian saved Phil Foden's initial effort, he fumbled the rebound to allow another substitute in Alvarez to force the ball home. It didn't take long for Liverpool to restore their lead. When Nunez' header hit the arm of Ruben Dias, Pawson was advised to consult the pitchside monitor and he awarded a penalty. Salah stepped forward and hammered home inside Ederson's left-hand post eight minutes from time. And Nunez rounded off an encouraging Liverpool performance with a close-range header from Robertson's knockdown in added time.

'Liverpool look as hungry as ever'

"That was a frightening tempo that Liverpool set from the very first whistle. The FA Cup winners looked the most impressive side for large spells of the game. "Any fears that they would struggle to adapt without Sadio Mane eased by the impact of Darwin Nunez from the bench. "The Liverpool fans have really taken to Nunez straight away. Chants of 'Nunez, Nunez' were belted out a number of times from the King Power stadium stands after his brilliant cameo. "Fabio Carvalho also showed glimpses of his potential when introduced late on and Luis Diaz will be stronger in what is his first full season at the club. "Andy Robertson was on the pitch being interviewed after the game, telling the supporters inside the King Power Stadium that he hopes it's the first of many trophies this season. They seem as hungry as ever."

What's next?

Liverpool take on Strasbourg for a final pre-season friendly on Sunday at Anfield, before playing their first Premier League game of the season away to Fulham on Saturday August 6.
Manchester City now turn their attention to the defence of their Premier League title when they face West Ham on Sunday, August 7.

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Last modified on Saturday, 30/07/2022

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