In a battle of new No.9’s, Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez out dueled Manchester City’s Erling Haaland and Liverpool beat rivals Manchester City 3-1 in the FA Community Shield to claim the first trophy of the season.
Nunez, who will probably end up being Liverpool’s most expensive signing ever, made himself an instant fan favorite after capping a lively appearance off the bench with a stoppage time goal to secure the victory.
Earlier the Uruguayan had seen his header handled by Ruben Dias, and after a Var review, Mo Salah had put Liverpool 2-1 up with seven minutes to go.
It was a disappointing debut for City’s main striker as Haaland managed just 16 touches in 90 minutes, only five more than Nunez in practically a third of the time. To top of a miserable debut, Haaland ballooned a shot against the crossbar and over from yards out when it seemed harder to miss.
Asked in his post-match press conference about Haaland, Pep Guardiola said he was encouraged by what he saw from the Norwegian striker.
“He had chances – two or three in the first half and one at the end. Always he was there. He fought a lot and made the movements.
“It’s good for him to see the reality of the new country, new league. He was there. Today he didn’t score – another day he will score.”
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was obviously the happier of the two managers telling ITV after the game:
“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.”