Liverpool won the 2022/23 season’s curtain raiser with a hard-earned 3-1 victory against Manchester City in the Community Shield.
Jurgen Klopp’s men looked much sharper than their Premier League-winning opponents, and eventually showed their quality to claim the win at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
Mohamed Salah came close to breaking the deadlock after dancing past Joao Cancelo when coming in off the right flank, but he could only find the side netting.
Kevin De Bruyne too struck the side netting at the other end after Salah’s loose pass at the back, though the Belgian’s fierce shot was deflected behind off of Virgil van Dijk.
A cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold was expertly placed onto Andy Robertson’s head, but the Scot couldn’t keep his effort went the wrong side of the post.
Ederson was first called into action when he got a glove on Jordan Henderson’s cross which was destined to be tapped in by Luis Diaz as a breathless first half continued.
And Liverpool took the lead when Alexander-Arnold was given freedom on the edge of the penalty area and curled one in off the far post, with Nathan Ake getting a minor deflection on the way through.
Having made just three touches in the opening 25 minutes, Erling Haaland missed two glorious chances to equalise soon after, firstly firing straight at Adrian before throwing himself up for an acrobatic volley and not getting a clean contact on the ball.
Just after the break, Riyad Mahrez managed to hold off Robertson after meeting Rodri’s clever ball over the top, but he was off balance when striking the ball and it was dealt with by Adrian.
Substitute Darwin Nunez nearly doubled Liverpool’s lead after catching City sleeping at the back, but his attempted dink over Ederson was denied by the Brazilian’s face.
Pep Guardiola’s men were initially denied an equaliser when Kevin De Bruyne’s through ball to Phil Foden prior to Julian Alverez stabbing the ball past Adrian at the second attempt, but City were awarded the goal after aa lengthy VAR check.
Liverpool were incensed when Nunez’s header clearly struck the arm of Ruben Dias but were denied a penalty by referee Craig Pawson, but after watching back the incident, he awarded the Reds a spot kick.
Salah stepped up to take and picked out the bottom corner to restore Liverpool’s lead with seven minutes remaining. And the Reds made sure of victory in stoppage time when Salah’s cross was headed back across goal by Robertson for Nunez to head home.
With virtually the last kick of the game, Haaland somehow fired over from six yards when faced with practically an open net with Adrian stranded on the floor after Foden struck the post to compound City’s misery.
GK: Adrian – 4/10 – Very uncomfortable on the ball and definitely should have dealt with Alvarez’s goal.
RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7/10 – Took his goal very well and was a menace in attack, but again was suspect defensively, notably halting in the lead up to City’s equaliser.
CB: Joel Matip – 7/10 – Wasn’t afraid to get into the thick of the battle.
CB: Virgil van Dijk – 7/10 – He and Matip kept Haaland very, very quiet.
LB: Andy Robertson – 6/10 – A little wasteful going forward but was par for the course defensively.
DM: Fabinho – 6/10 – Wasn’t the imperious rock he could be but he didn’t really need to be.
CM: Jordan Henderson – 5/10 – Ran around and led the press, but those were his only meaningful contributions.
CM: Thiago – 8/10 – Bossed the midfield battle, putting in excellent work at both ends of the pitch.
RW: Mohamed Salah – 9/10 – Made Cancelo’s life miserable and was eventually rewarded with a goal from the spot.
CF: Roberto Firmino – 5/10 – Didn’t provide too much on the ball but dropped deep and pressed well.
LW: Luis Diaz – 5/10 – Energetically wasteful. Demanded the ball plenty but his end product was seriously lacking.
SUB: Darwin Nunez (59′ for Firmino) – 8/10
SUB: Harvey Elliott (74′ for Henderson) – 5/10
SUB: James Milner (74′ for Alexander-Arnold) – 6/10
SUB: Naby Keita (85′ for Thiago) – N/A
SUB: Fabio Carvalho (90′ for Diaz) – N/A
SUB: Curtis Jones (90’+5 for Salah) – N/A
GK: Ederson – 7/10 – Made a string of smart stops and was unlucky not to get a hand on Salah’s penalty.
RB: Kyle Walker – 7/10 – Shut down Diaz despite the Colombian seeing a lot of possession.
CB: Ruben Dias – 4/10 – Didn’t do too much wrong until his handball, which was rather foolish. Lost the run of Nunez in stoppage time.
CB: Nathan Ake – 5/10 – Harsh to blame him for the opening goal but he hardly inspired confidence.
LB: Joao Cancelo – 4/10 – Had a nightmare trying to contain Salah and Alexander-Arnold.
RM: Riyad Mahrez – 6/10 – Carved out some decent openings despite looking rather sluggish.
CM: Rodri – 5/10 – An ordinary performance. Made the odd eye-catching pass but was overrun a lot.
CM: Bernardo Silva – 6/10 – Demonstrated great technique as always but didn’t make enough of a tangible impact.
LM: Jack Grealish – 5/10 – Played it way too safe. Worked hard off the ball but provided little spark on it.
AM: Kevin De Bruyne – 7/10 – His playmaking didn’t always come off but he played a key role for the equaliser.
CF: Erling Haaland – 4/10 – Isolated for 90% of the time and couldn’t sort his feet out for the rest.
SUB: Phil Foden (58′ for Mahrez) – 5/10
SUB: Julian Alvarez (58′ for Grealish) – 7/10
SUB: Ilkay Gundogan (74′ for De Bruyne) – 5/10