Liverpool drew first blood against Manchester City ahead of the new Premier League season when Darwin Nunes made an instant impact on Jurgen Klopp’s men by winning the Community Shield 3-1.
In a tale of two big summer signings, Nunez came off the bench to win a penalty and score his first goal since a €75m ($77m) move from Benfica, while Erling Haaland made his City debut to forget.
A powerful strike from Trent Alexander-Arnold gave Liverpool a well-deserved lead in the first half at Leicester.
But it was City’s other new striker who brought Pep Guardiola’s men back into play after the break, when Julian Alvarez equalized.
Another big part of Liverpool’s summer business was signing Mohamed Salah on a new three-year deal, and the Egyptian landed the death-kick from the penalty spot after Ruben Diaz headbutted Nunez.
The Uruguayan then got his own moment of glory, bending down to head home in stoppage time before celebrating the win by ripping off his shirt.
The win saw Liverpool win the traditional opening of the season for the first time since 2006 and became the first scorer in what is expected to be another battle between Liverpool and City for the Premier League title.
City edged ahead of the Reds to win the Premier League by a point for the fourth time in five years in a thrilling finale last season.
Guardiola’s men had to be down 2-0 on the final day of the campaign to beat Aston Villa and were once again to blame for the slow start.
Salah provided the first goal as he sent Thiago Alcantara’s pass across the field back to the edge of the box, and Alexander-Arnold shot from the post with a slight deflection from Diaz.
City only played two pre-season friendlies against four Liverpool and it took them half an hour to get back on their feet.
Liverpool substitute goalkeeper Adrian denied Haaland a first look at the goal.
However, the Norwegian had to open his City account moments later as he failed to properly connect to Joao Cancelo’s enticing cross.
Nunes was given a chance to shine at the hour mark, but he missed his first big chance when Ederson won in a one-on-one match.
On the other hand, City’s new South American striker also had a successful start to his career in England.
Alvarez’s arrival at Etihad went unnoticed due to the hype around Haaland.
But the Argentine, who scored six goals in a single Copa Libertadores match in May, is also regarded as one of the brightest young strikers in the world.
Álvarez reacted the fastest to the rebound after Adrian deflected Phil Foden’s initial try, with the goal standing after VAR was reviewed for offside.
It took another VAR intervention for Liverpool to regain the lead with seven minutes remaining.
Referee Craig Pawson pointed to the spot after seeing a replay of Nunez’s headbutt from Diaz’s hand.
Salah was as deadly as ever from 12 yards as he shot into the bottom corner despite Ederson going in the right direction.
Nunez then cleared all doubts about the result when he headed Andy Robertson on goal.
But City’s miserable day didn’t end there: Haaland hit the crossbar with a goal gap in stoppage time, leaving the Norwegian superstar waiting to open his scoring in English football.