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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Manchester City land first blow in 2019/20 heavyweight bout with Liverpool

Press Association Sport 20:31 04/08/2019
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Manchester City edged out last season’s title rivals Liverpool 5-4 on penalties to open the new domestic campaign with victory in the Community Shield.

The two teams were separated by just one point in the Premier League last term and it took a shoot-out to split them in the season opener at Wembley as it was 1-1 after 90 minutes.

Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo made the decisive intervention, saving Liverpool’s second penalty from Georginio Wijnaldum, with Gabriel Jesus firing home the crucial spot-kick.

City had led for most of normal time after former Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling scored against his old club for the first time in the 12th minute.

Champions League winners Liverpool responded well and went close several times before substitute Joel Matip levelled 13 minutes from time.

Jurgen Klopp’s men almost snatched victory in the dying seconds but Kyle Walker made a dramatic goal-line clearance from Mohamed Salah, who did everything but score in a hard-working display.

The game was a fine contest between two well-matched sides, despite both having players undercooked due to limited pre-season preparations. Liverpool hurried Roberto Firmino and Salah back into their side despite them only returning to training this week and Sadio Mane was unavailable.

City handed a debut to record signing Rodri but record goalscorer Sergio Aguero was on the bench.

The game still started at a lively pace and City, sporting a retro kit to mark their 125th anniversary, had an early chance when Leroy Sane shot into the side netting. Firmino tested Bravo at the other end and Salah shot wide.

City suffered a blow when Sane appeared to jar his knee under a challenge from Joe Gomez. The German, whose future remains the subject of speculation amid reports linking him with Bayern Munich, limped off.

The champions were not hampered, however, taking the lead before Sane’s replacement Jesus had even taken the field. The ball was lofted into the area and David Silva pulled back for Sterling to volley home, although the England forward’s connection was not the cleanest.

Salah threatened an equaliser but dragged a shot onto a post and then blasted over after a poor clearance.

Sterling had another effort beaten away by Alisson Becker before City boss Pep Guardiola was shown the yellow card by referee Martin Atkinson for an angry reaction to a challenge on Silva by Gomez. Guardiola may also have tested Atkinson’s patience by encroaching onto the field to speak to Walker during the ensuing stoppage.

City went close again early in the second half when Silva fired over and Sterling curled a shot against a post, although a flag had already been raised.

Liverpool turned up the heat and hit the frame of the goal twice in quick succession.

First Virgil Van Dijk clipped the ball against the bar from a corner and the ball bounced onto the line and Salah then drove another effort against the post.
Sterling had another chance to double the lead but delayed too long and Alisson denied him.

The equaliser came 13 minutes from time as Van Dijk lobbed a Jordan Henderson free-kick back towards goal and Matip headed home.

Liverpool finished the stronger and Bravo then saved from Naby Keita and Salah, who also had an effort deflected over. Salah went close again in stoppage time but John Stones blocked and the Egyptian’s follow-up header was dramatically cleared off the line by Walker.

With no extra time, the game had to be settled on penalties and Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Jesus were all on target for City.

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Moise Kean determined to bring winning attitude after signing for Everton

Nick Purewal 15:25 04/08/2019
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Moise Kean

Everton have signed teenage Italy striker Moise Kean from Juventus.

The 19-year-old Italy forward has signed a five-year deal with the Toffees, to become the club’s fifth summer signing.

The highly-rated hitman scored six goals in 13 appearances in helping Juventus claim last term’s Serie A title, having made his club debut as a 16-year-old. The Italian club said the fee was an initial €27.5million.

“I am very proud and honoured to wear the Everton shirt; I will give my best to this team,” said Kean.

“I was convinced to sign because Everton is a club looking to the future and so am I.

“I know about the size of the club. It has big ambition and I will work very hard to help us fulfil what we want to achieve.

“I am used to winning and I want to bring this winning attitude to the team. I hope I will be very good on the field and bring the fans joy.”

Kean became Italy’s youngest senior national team scorer since 1958 when netting against Finland on his full senior debut, aged just 19 years and 23 days.

He was subjected to racist abuse during Juventus’ 2-0 Serie A win at Cagliari in April, holding his arms aloft to the crowd after scoring in response to the crowd.

Everton have already recruited Andre Gomes, Fabian Delph, Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Jonas Lossl this summer.

Now the Toffees hope the livewire frontman will add a significant boost to their squad ahead of the new Premier League campaign.

“A striker was one of our priority signings this summer,” said Everton manager Marco Silva.

“Moise is strong, fast, with many good qualities as a striker and he is just 19 years old. He has talent and he is ready to work, ready to improve our squad and gives us different solutions.

“Of course he was at a big club, now he’s come to another big club and is ready to fight for this challenge and to give everything to Everton football Club.”

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