Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side struck the first blow in the club’s ongoing rivalry with defending EPL champions Manchester City, winning 3-1 at the King Power Stadium this weekend to win the Community Shield.
In the end, the Reds’ victory was relatively convincing, with a Mohamed Salah penalty and debut goal from the impressive Darwin Nunez proving decisive after City forward Julián Álvarez had cancelled out Trent Alexander-Arnold’s first-half opener.
This win hasn’t moved the dial in terms of the Red title odds, with Liverpool still around 9/4 to win the EPL this season. If you’ve cashed in on the 888Starz promo code and want to back the Reds now, however, keep your eyes peeled for the sportsbooks offering a slightly longer price of 19/10.
But what exactly have Liverpool fans learned from their side’s Community Shield win? Here are three of the key takeaways:
#1. Nunez Outshines Fellow New Boy Haaland
Uruguayan forward Nunez only joined the fray in the 70th minute, but he was able to make an instant impact with his incessant running and aggressive pressing.
In fact, he looked like the ideal fit from Jurgen Klopp’s side from a defensive perspective, while his ability to serve as a focal point also equipped the side with another dimension in attack.
So, although Nunez missed one chance when played through one-on-one against Ederson, he continually forced City to turnover possession in the defensive third and even managed to score his side’s third goal when he stooped to head home Andy Robertson’s knockdown.
Haaland cut a relatively frustrated figure in contrast, with his teammates struggling to find his more direct runs in behind. Of course, City’s players aren’t used to playing with a traditional centre forward of this type, so it may take a little longer for the Norwegian striker to start firing.
#2. Salah and Trent Look Ready for Action
Liverpool tore into City from the off at the King Power, suggesting that the side’s relatively short pre-season has done little to quell their aggressive, high-pressing playing style.
Particularly impressive were Salah and Alexander-Arnold, who showed no signs of ring rust as they enabled the Reds to dominate their right flank.
In fact, Egyptian forward Salah gave City’s left back Joao Cancelo an incredibly tough afternoon, with his inverted runs and close control putting the usually attack-minded Portuguese on the back foot.
As for last season’s assist king Alexander-Arnold, he provided a constant attacking outlet on the right flank, while his curling finish for the opening of the goal bore all of the defender’s trademark accuracy and technique.
#3. Thiago Could be a Contender for Player of the Year
Former Barcelona and Bayern Munich playmaker Thiago endured a challenging first season at Anfield, as he struggled to acclimatise to the pace of the Premier League and was unfairly accused of disrupting the Reds’ high tempo playing style.
He was much more effective last season, however, gradually emerging as one of Klopp’s first choice midfielders while beginning to demonstrate his vision, touch and incredible range of passing on a more regular basis.
He continued this form at the King Power, showcasing his mastery throughout and dominating the midfield both on and off the ball. While a particularly brilliant piece of skill in a tight space really caught the eye, it was Thiago’s immense workrate and pressing that really shows how far he has come during his time at Anfield.
If he continues his form, Thiago could well be a contender for player of the year, while he’s the sort of performer who can inspire teams to the sport’s major prizes.