There were only minutes left to play when star Mo Salah, who appears to have been well rested during the summer break, curled the ball into the penalty area from the right with his left foot. Attacking left-back Andy Robertson headed the ball into the goal mouth. After a bounce, Darwin Núñez headed the ball diving into the goal. Full of joy, the 23-year-old Uruguayan ran to the Liverpool fans. He took off his shirt and showed his tattooed upper body. He didn’t care about the yellow card. The record purchase had presented itself.
Jurgen Klopp could be satisfied. The Liverpool coach had maddened his superiors at Anfield to transfer up to 100 million euros to Benfica for this relatively unknown attacker. The German had seen with his own eyes just how good Núñez was in the spring, when the Portuguese team under his leadership cleared a 3-1 deficit at Anfield. It wasn’t enough to knock out Liverpool, but Klopp thought I must have it before another top English club snatch it. A round earlier, Núñez had caused football distress at Ajax.
Correct representation of power relations
Ten minutes earlier in the Community Shield battle, Nunez had already led the way to 2-1 when his header hit Ruben Diaz’s arm. The referee was sent to the sideline camera by VAR to determine that he had missed a penalty kick. Salah gave Liverpool the lead from eleven yards. Shortly before, City had leveled by a fumble goal from Julián Álvarez, the Argentinian who has been taken over from River Plate. In the first half, Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool had opened the scoring for The Reds through Nathan Ake’s head.
The 3-1 was a fair representation of the balance of power in this early season opening. At Leicester’s King Power Stadium – Wembley hosted the women’s European Championship final – it was clear that Liverpool had played more than great rivals Manchester City during their pre-season. Both teams are once again the big favorites in the English title race, although it seems that the London teams – Arsenal, Chelsea and especially Tottenham Hotspur – will close the gap. Arsenal beat Sevilla 6-0 on Saturday. Earlier it had beaten Chelsea 4-0.
Salah back to old level
Pep Guardiola faces a luxury problem, however: how does Erling Haaland fit into his tiki-taka system? Should the Norwegian star adapt to the team or vice versa? City have become accustomed to playing without a real striker and now suddenly there is a genuine number 9 in the front. Moreover, one who loves the counter with his speed, a form of football tactics that Guardiola has little to do with. The blond attacker got lost, neatly guarded by Virgil van Dijk. The fact that he ruined an unmissable opportunity in the final phase summed up his English debut well.
Klopp, on the other hand, does not have to puzzle. Hardly anything has changed and, as in previous years, he has a deadly attack at his disposal. Salah is back to his old level after a mediocre spring. The Egyptian must miss his mate Sadio Mane, who left for Bayern Munich, but Colombian Luis Diaz, plucked from the Portuguese league like Núñez, brings extra venom and speed in the attack. With Núñez there, Liverpool hope to recapture the league title from Manchester City. The overture was promising.
Bayern take German Super Cup
Bayern Munich have won the German Super Cup for the third year in a row. The national champion defeated cup winner RB Leipzig 5-3. The Dutch purchasers Matthijs de Ligt and Ryan Gravenberch made their official debut for Bayern as substitutes, just like Noussair Mazraoui who came over from Ajax on a free transfer.
Trainer Julian Nagelsmann started one summer acquisition: Sadio Mané. The Senegalese attacker, who came over from Liverpool, doubled Bayern’s lead after half an hour after Jamal Musiala opened the scoring in the 14th minute. In between, Christopher Nkunku’s equalizer was disallowed for offside.
Shortly before half time, Benjamin Pavard scored the 3-0 for Bayern on Musiala’s pass. Marcel Halstenberg did something back on behalf of home club RB Leipzig after almost an hour of play, but Serge Gnabry quickly recovered the margin of three hits. Nkunku still scored from a penalty kick and in the final phase it became tense after the connecting goal of substitute Dani Olmo. Before that, two goals by Mane had been disallowed for offside. Deep in stoppage time, Leroy Sané decided the game at a counter from Bayern with the 5-3.
Gravenberch came on for Thomas Müller halfway through the second half. De Ligt and Mazraoui came in in the 78th minute. Bayern Munich opens the new Bundesliga season on Friday with an away game against Eintracht Frankfurt. RB Leipzig, which finished fourth last season, will play against VfB Stuttgart two days later.