On that thrilling proof, we’re set for another epic title run – and one that could have a different outcome in May.
Manchester City, champions in four of the last five years, have not lacked class at King Power, but even their magicians have been unequivocally crushed by Jurgen Klopp’s trophy machines.
It was the third piece of silverware raised by Liverpool in 2022 and completed their manager’s collection of domestic awards.
Liverpool made a clear statement to Manchester City by winning the Community Shield 3-1 at the King Power on Saturday
Newcomer Darwin Nunez scored a diving header in injury time to secure the win and give Liverpool a 3-1 advantage
Yes, the Community Shield is just a seasonal curtain raiser, but the intensity and quality shown suggest the Merseysiders will start running, starting at Fulham next weekend.
After all the hype surrounding the two glamorous new strikers, the competition between them wasn’t even close.
City golden boy Erling Haaland was started by Pep Guardiola and tested Virgil van Dijk in the first half before disappearing. In the end, he looked puzzled and somehow hit the crossbar from five yards when he should have scored easily.
In contrast, £85million Darwin Nunez was first benched by Klopp but ended up becoming the hero.
Veteran captain and midfielder Jordan Henderson lifted the trophy at the end of his 450th appearance in a Liverpool shirt
Trent Alexander-Arnold scored a superb long-range goal to give the Reds a comfortable 1-0 lead at the end of the first half
But substitute Julian Alvarez sent Man City level in the 70th minute after VAR canceled out their disallowed goal.
He terrorized City with his looks when he arrived after 58 minutes. He won a penalty, perhaps deserved another, and was brilliantly foiled by Ederson before sealing Liverpool’s victory with a bowed header.
As Leicester Stadium’s ‘Kop End’ was engulfed in red smoke during a full-time celebration, team-mate Andy Robertson joked: ‘Not bad considering what people have said about him’, – a reference to those who don’t see Nunez as a replacement for Sadio Mane.
City won’t panic, but the other 20 Premier League clubs should. These two teams finished 18 points ahead of the others last season and the gap does not seem close to closing.
Liverpool were sharper in the first half, which befits the fact that they have played four pre-season games compared to City’s two.
It was a tough game as the Premier League champions and FA Cup winners looked for bragging rights at the start of the season
It was a frustrating afternoon for Man City star Erling Haaland, who missed a keeper in the dying moments of the game.
Haaland joined Manchester City for £51million from Borussia Dortmund and is set to thrive in Pep Guardiola’s Man City squad
The only goal in the first 45 minutes was a beauty. Thiago and Luis Diaz fed Mo Salah whose tap on Trent Alexander-Arnold at the edge of the box prompted the defender to hit a rising first shot over Nathan Ake, Ederson and into the corner.
At the other end, Haaland had a few snorts but was denied by a block from Virgil van Dijk and a parry from Adrian, playing his first game in the Liverpool goal for nine months.
City were better after the break but panicked once Nunez replaced Roberto Firmino. Ederson stopped his first one-on-one by hitting Nunez, on the second occasion he made a big save.
Phil Foden was more efficient than the player he replaced, Jack Grealish. And it was his quick thinking that led to a first equalizer for City’s other debutant, Julian Alvarez, after 70 minutes.
Adrian parried Foden’s volley but as he tried to get both hands on the loose ball, Foden came in close to tee off Alvarez for a Sergio Aguero-like finish.
At first the goal was not given for offside, but a lengthy VAR check decided everyone was legal when Kevin De Bruyne initially crossed for Foden.
Mohamed Salah scored from the spot in the 83rd minute after Nunez forced a handball from Man City defender Ruben Dias
The sharpshooter continued last season where he left off after sharing the Premier League Golden Boot with Son Heung-min
MATCH FACTS AND RATINGS
Lpool (4-3-3): Adrian 6; Alexander-Arnold 8 (Milner 74), Matip 7, van Dijk 7, Robertson 6.5; Henderson 7.5 (Elliott 73 6), Fabinho 7, Thiago 7; Salah 8 (Jones 90), Firmino 6.5 (Nunez 58 8.5), Diaz 7 (Carvalho 90)
submarines unused: Davies (Gk), Gomez, Konate, Keita
Goals: Alexander-Arnold 21, Salahpen 83, Nunez 90
Manchester City (4-3-3) Ederson 6.5; Walker 7, Dias 6, Ake 6, Cancelo 5.5; De Bruyne 7 (Gundogan 73 6), Rodri 6, Bernardo 7; Mahrez 5.5 (Alvarez 58 7), Haaland 6.5, Grealish 5.5 (Foden 58 7)
Unused submarines: Moreno (Gk), Stones, Phillips, Mbete, Palmer, Wilson-Esbrand
Objective: Alvarez 70
Arbitrator: Craig Pawson 6
The technology returned, this time to help Liverpool, 13 minutes later. City skipper Ruben Dias had his arm outstretched when Nunez’s head hit. Referee Craig Pawson ruled it accidental, but was persuaded to go to the monitor and changed his mind.
Mo Salah, who looked much better than last season, hid the penalty with nonchalant ease.
With Liverpool 2-1 ahead, the added-time final was all about the centre-forwards.
Nunez, who had suffered a knock on the ankle from Nathan Ake, showed he was made of tough things by continuing to run his errands, and got his reward when Robertson’s header through goal fell on his own forehead.
The game was over but Haaland’s misfortune was not. Foden set up the Norwegian for mere consolation and he inflated his lines.
Guardiola said he wasn’t bothered. “Next time he will put it in the net, so what’s the problem,” the City boss shrugged.
“I’m not worried he will score. He fought hard today and made some good moves. It’s a good way to see the reality of English football. He is mentally strong.
Klopp admitted that scoring in a major game so quickly in his Liverpool career will help Nunez.
“You know strikers are a special species. Everyone needs positives and I think Darwin’s face when he scored shows how happy he was. I think he would have been fine without scoring because he had already won us a penalty but that was the icing on the cake.
“It’s a joke how quickly everyone is judged in this world, but that’s the way it is.”
Nunez made an incredible impact on the substitutes’ bench and scored Liverpool’s third in injury time
Liverpool fans were delighted to see their new £85m-rated striker get off to a flying start in the Community Shield clash
Worried about the competition, Klopp believes there is more to come from his players. “No team was 100 per cent in terms of usual fitness, but we were closer to full fitness than at this stage in previous years.”
“I think the game was a good watch. Darwin had an impact and the things we can improve on, I’m delighted.
With all the glamorous newcomers taking center stage, Salah was a timely reminder that he himself remains a hot property.
Knocked out late last season in the Champions League final, the Egyptian king looked fresh and energetic after signing a new long-term contract.
He tormented City left-back Joao Cancelo at times, twisting him inside out into a single attack before hitting the side netting.
Guardiola has left £45m England midfielder Kalvin Phillips on the bench, suggesting he has some way to go if he is to take Rodri’s starting spot.
The crafty Klopp has been smart to launch Roberto Firmino up front with the Brazilian having Juventus among his suitors if he feels he won’t be playing enough football this season.
Follow Sportsmail’s live blog for the Community Shield clash between Liverpool and Manchester City at the King Power Stadium.