Talking points as Liverpool recover from poor start but Man City are shoot-out kings

Sooraj Kamath - Writer 21:08 04/08/2019
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The Community Shield kick-started the 2019/20 season of English football with an electrifying encounter between Premier League winners Manchester City and second-placed Liverpool.

Raheem Sterling opened the scoring in the 12th minute, with City starting the game on the front foot. But Joel Matip restored parity deep into the second half after he headed home Virgil van Dijk’s perfect cross.

Liverpool were inches away from claiming the shield but Kyle Walker produced a spectacular bicycle clearance off the line to keep Mohamed Salah off the score-sheet.

The game went to penalties and Claudio Bravo wore the hero’s cape after he stopped Georginio Wijnaldum’s penalty. City won the shoot-out 5-4 to start the season with yet another trophy.

We take a look at the talking points from the first encounter of the season between two of the best teams in England.

Liverpool recover from a weak start

Salah

Liverpool were clearly the better side in the second half but the Reds did not enjoy a rosy start. They were shambolic in all three departments in the first quarter of the game and turned up only in the second half.

Mohamed Salah missed two chances that he would have buried nine times out of 10. The midfield was struggling to keep the ball against City’s lively press and the defence allowed the Premier League champions to create several goal-scoring opportunities.

Sterling’s goal was a poor one to concede and Alisson has only himself to blame for letting the ball run between his legs.

However, the European champions started on the front foot in the second half, with Salah leading the comeback. The Egyptian set himself up a couple of times and even struck the post twice and was by far their best player.

Liverpool’s persistence paid off after Matip headed home Van Dijk’s fine cross from close range.

Sterling left to rue missed chances

Sterling

Sterling was presented with two glorious chances to seal the deal in the second half but the Englishman spurned the opportunities rather casually.

The 24-year-old was involved in two one-on-one situations against Alisson but failed to make it count. The woodwork prevented him from scoring the first time and it was a combination of his casual finishing and Alisson’s sharpness to react quickly that ensured City did not run away from the game.

The Premier League champions switched off rapidly in the second half, but Sterling was the prime culprit in their disappointing show.

City – Penalty shoot-out specialists?

Pep Guardiola’s men were lucky to take the game to penalties after taking their eye off the ball in the second half. Salah was allowed to run riot on the right flank and Bravo was heavily involved in keeping them in the game.

However, City defended the shield by winning their seventh penalty shoot-out in a row. This surely is a tremendous achievement, given the randomness associated with this tie-breaker.

But the Premier League champions have shown time and again that they are suited to penalties, thrive under pressure and always start as favourites.

Sane injury to complicate transfer?

It’s an open secret that Bayern Munich are pushing hard to sign Germany international Leroy Sane. The German club had to formally declare that the rumours stating Sane was close to joining them were false. – even though it is common knowledge that the young winger is more likely to move than stay at City.

However, an injury in the early moments of the game forced the 23-year-old out of the fixture, with Gabriel Jesus replacing him. This injury could jeopardise Bayern’s capture of the player as complications may arise during the medical tests.

Note that the transfer window closes on Thursday in the Premier League and it’s unlikely City will let go of the player without signing a replacement.

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