Liverpool win Community Shield: Darwin Nunez goal seals trophy for Reds, downing Erling Haaland and Man City

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It took help from VAR but Liverpool will lift the Community Shield following a 3-1 victory over Manchester City. A stellar strike by Trent Alexander-Arnold opened the scoring in the 21st minute as Liverpool came out of the gate swarming Manchester City. Taking advantage of Nathan Ake in the back line and Joao Cancelo embodying his new number seven number and not defending at left back, it was too easy for Liverpool to get their attack going early on. 

With Aymeric Laporte out until September after undergoing knee surgery, City will have to balance the defense if they don't strike a deal with Brighton for Marc Cucurella. Ruben Dias can't do all the defending on his own and Fernandinho is no longer with the squad to slot in as a reserve center back. Either John Stones will need to come into the lineup or, Pep Guardiola will need to dip into the youth ranks which he has been reluctant to do.

Guardiola's side did grow into the match with Kevin de Bruyne creating chances for the front three of Jack Grealish, Erling Haaland, and Riyad Mahrez but they weren't on the same page to make them count. The improvement came when play was funneled to Haaland but as that's not a Guardiola team style, there will be growing pains.

Late in the match, after a VAR review, Julian Alvarez opened his City scoring account after Phil Foden's effort was saved by Adrian before Alvarez pounced on the follow-up. But Liverpool responded. City would concede the go ahead goal to Mohamed Salah via unfortunate circumstances. 

After consulting VAR, Darwin Nunez's header was judged to have hit Ruben Dias' hand and Salah's penalty was true. Liverpool the put the match out of sight as City couldn't contain Nunez in the box and his diving header late in stoppage time sealed the deal. After 16 years, Liverpool regain the Community Shield while also dealing an early psychological blow to Manchester City in the title race.

Haaland had a chance to bring things closer near the end of the match but he skied his opportunity in a shot that he'll surely want back. 

Here are a few takeaways from the match:

Trent Alexander-Arnold appreciation post

While Alexander-Arnold may need to thank Ake for his opener, how he makes these first time finishes look so easy is out of this world. Most players striking a ball like this would be front page news, but it's another day for Alexander-Arnold. After scoring two goals and assisting 12 in Premier League play last season, Alexander-Arnold is off to another strong start for continuing his reign as the best right back in the world.

Growing pains for the Man City attack

Grealish, Haaland, and Mahrez looked like they were playing for three different teams to start the match. Both Mahrez and Haaland wanted to shoot first and pass later and Grealish's dribbling didn't open up much space when Liverpool knew that he couldn't find his attackers in the box. As Grealish has struggled to get used to life on the wing for Manchester City, it may be worth trying him deeper and more central where his skill on the ball offers more of a direct threat.

Things improved when Foden and Alvarez entered because they knew that their role was to support Haaland. City looks like a different squad when Foden is playing as opposed to when he is out of the squad and that's something to watch as the season goes on. After losing Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus during the summer it's not like City are overflowing with depth in forward areas. While those who departed will be happy with their key roles as starters for Chelsea and Arsenal, Guardiola could've used them today when City needed chance creators in the final third.

Outlook for the season

The score doesn't tell the story of how little there was to separate these sides which makes sense as City only won the title by one point last season. These are still the best teams in the Premier League and anyone else will need to essentially be perfect to catch them. But Liverpool's edge in fitness showed as Jugen Klopp has overloaded their preseason with matches so that they can hit the ground running. Even after winning the Community Shield Saturday, the Reds will play Strasbourg in a friendly Sunday as their final preparation before opening the season against Fulham on August 6.

City has played a more traditional preseason and Haaland isn't up to full fitness yet, but once they hit their stride things will be fine. It's important to remember that with their performance Saturday, City likely defeats any Premier League team not taking part in European Play this season. Guardiola has tinkers to make but if City doesn't retain their Premier League title, Liverpool will be the only team that can come for it.

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A good win for Liverpool in a 3-1 victory

Nunez, Salah, and Alexander-Arnold found the goals as Liverpool found an extra gear at the end of the match.

July 30, 2022, 6:08 PM

Nunez makes it three!

After twisting his ankle in a challenge with Nathan Ake, Nunez latches onto a cross for a diving header. An emphatic victory. 

July 30, 2022, 5:55 PM

Haaland has the ball in the back of the net but it won't count

The ball went out of bounds on the way to him but it was certainly a good finish for Haaland. 

July 30, 2022, 5:54 PM

Luis Diaz's day is over

It's a great moment for Fabio Carvalho to be on the pitch as there will be seven added minutes to the match.

July 30, 2022, 5:51 PM

After the handball is given, Salah doesn't miss from the spot

It took VAR to help but Liverpool are back in the lead with only five minutes remaining. Kieta has come on for Thiago to close things out.

July 30, 2022, 5:46 PM

Liverpool want a handball as Nunez's shot is blocked

It was an amazing move from Liverpool but that looked like a hand in a bad position from Ruben Dias. VAR will be consulted.

July 30, 2022, 5:41 PM

A look back at Julian Alvarez's first goal for City

July 30, 2022, 5:40 PM

More changes 

Ilkay Gundogan has entered for Kevin de Bruyne to give City fresh legs while Liverpool made multiple changes. Harvey Elliott has entered for Jordan Henderson while James Milner has come in for Trent Alexander-Arnold. This group of subs shows that while it is a competitive match that we're still in preseason mode.

July 30, 2022, 5:38 PM

Alvarez has the opener for City!

The ball is in the back of the net but after being ruled out for offsides, Julian Alvarez has scored City's opener.  Phil Foden's first effort was saved by Adrian before Alvarez followed things up for his first Manchester City goal. 

July 30, 2022, 5:34 PM

Liverpool are protecting their lead

With the match almost in the 70th minute, Liverpool have dropped Robertson into a more defensive role. They're still countering when they get a chance, but the press has been more conservative now. City are creating chances but they've yet to find an opener.

July 30, 2022, 5:31 PM

Liverpool break but Diaz can't find Salah

The run was so so good as Diaz beat Rodri down the flank but switching flanks at full speed is easier said than done. Liverpool look to be closer to getting a second goal than City are to getting a first. 

July 30, 2022, 5:23 PM

Darwin Nunez is in as well

Roberto Firmino has exited and Nunez's first touch was a direct run at Ederson. While it was offside, that's the kind of danger that Nunez can bring to the game.

July 30, 2022, 5:21 PM

Changes are coming for Manchester City

Julian Alvarez and Phil Foden will be entering for Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez to change the balance of the attack. it looks like early, City may change to more of a 4-4-2 as Alvarez supports Haaland while Foden supplies him.

July 30, 2022, 5:20 PM

Since the opening goal, there isn't much to split the sides

It's easy to forget the levels that these teams can perform at when they make everything so easy but outside of Alexander-Arnold's strike, they're playing to a stalemate. Liverpool have been pinned deep since City has worked out their issues in possession but a change may still need to be made on the wing for Guardiola as the Grealish, Haaland, Mahrez front three isn't on the same page.

July 30, 2022, 5:14 PM

The more things change the more they stay the same 

Just like the end of last season, the stars for Liverpool have been Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz, and the fullbacks. Liverpool will have wanted to be more clinical but shutting down the City attack is no easy feat. Firmino's runs have been critical to opening lanes for the wingers but how will that change when Nunez enters the match?

July 30, 2022, 5:04 PM

City has been much more dangerous heading into halftime

The second that Haaland has gotten involved into the match City has been able to get their attack in order. The Norwegian forward's skill and body control can change the game if City are able to feed him the ball more. He likely could've scored a goal but working out chemistry with the team will take a few more matches.

July 30, 2022, 4:52 PM

Mahrez stings Adrian's palms

Even though it was from an offside position, that's more like it for City as players are looking to make runs in behind the Liverpool defense. The way through the midfield is over the top until more creative players are on the pitch.

July 30, 2022, 4:35 PM

Kevin de Bruyne has a chance to score

De Bruyne has been everywhere in the first half but he hasn't been able to bring his finishing in the game so far. If Liverpool continue to let him get the ball at his feet, it will only be a matter of time until Manchester City find an opener.

July 30, 2022, 4:29 PM

Who else but Trent Alexander-Arnold? 1-0 Liverpool

Mohamed Salah found Alexander-Arnold outside the box and his strike was true to open the scoring. 

July 30, 2022, 4:25 PM

The midfield is quite combative

Bernardo Silva barreled through to regain possession for Manchester City but the balance in attack feels off for City to start the match. Neither team is treating this as a preseason showcase but the combination of Mahrez and Grealish on the wings may need to change if City struggles to maintain possession. While Pep Guardiola has a short bench available to him, Phil Foden and Ilkay Gundogon can change things.

July 30, 2022, 4:23 PM

City are off to the races but Kevin de Bruyne can't make it count

Liverpool's press is still causing problems. Even when City are able to turn them over, they haven't been able to make anything happen from it. Meanwhile, Alexander-Arnold is finding Robertson in the box as Liverpool's fullback-to-fullback attacks are ready to get the season started.

July 30, 2022, 4:17 PM

It's a fast start for the Reds

City will need to grow into the match as Liverpool are causing problems. They have created two dangerous chances and hold the possession advantage in the early going. One team looks ready to start the season but all CIty needs is one mistake to pounce. 

July 30, 2022, 4:10 PM

Score: Liverpool 3, Manchester City 1 (FT)

July 30, 2022, 4:07 PM

Diaz blocked by Dias

Liverpool with an early attack as Jordan Henderson's early cross found Luis Diaz in the middle of the box but Ruben Dias was there to hold strong. It's certainly a quick start to the match as Mohamed Salah has also hit the outside of the net with a shot as he caught Cancelo out.

July 30, 2022, 4:06 PM

And we're off!

Let's play soccer.

July 30, 2022, 4:03 PM

Just ten minutes to go!

It should be a close affair since each team put out strong sides but making a prediction, I think City will take the match by a 2-1 score. 

July 30, 2022, 3:49 PM
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