Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was impressed by the impact Darwin Nunez had when he came off the bench to convert the Community Shield in his side’s favor against Manchester City.
The 23-year-old Uruguay striker, who could become the club’s record signing for £85million if all the add-ons included in his summer deal with Benfica are met, was brought on with 30 minutes to go at the end and made an awesome cameo.
He won the penalty at the end of which Mohamed Salah put the Reds 2-1 up and then stooped to head home in added time to seal a 3-1 win at Leicester.
He also caused Ederson a few problems, prompting a challenge on the City keeper – on his first strike – that would probably have resulted in a penalty had it not been for an offside flag, and then forced the Brazilian international to make a goal denial save. .
“It was good, it was very good. It’s clear that it will get better with time,” Klopp said. “We live in a world where everyone is judged at first sight and that’s not helpful for anyone, but it happens all the time.
“In the first few games (of pre-season) we weren’t even close to the level of form we were in today and then when he came on we passed him every ball because he was chasing it and after the third he completely killed himself and then everybody he judged his first touches and that sort of thing.
“It’s just a joke but we have to live with it, he’ll deal with it brilliantly. We’re patient and we know he can do good things.
“We all know they’re a special breed, the strikers. The other thing everyone needs (is) little positives. That means goals or involvement in goals.
“I think Darwin would have been fine even without scoring the third because the penalty was Millie’s cross and her header.
“The chance he had earlier he did really well but Ederson reacted brilliantly. The goal was obviously the icing on the cake so I was really pleased for him.
“You could see it on his face, you could see it on all his teammates’ faces how happy the lads are for him and that’s a very good sign after such a short period of time that he’s been with us.”
Pep: He doesn’t care about Haaland
Núñez’s involvement was crucial. Liverpool took a deserved lead in the 21st minute thanks to Trent Alexander-Arnold’s shot which clipped Nathan Ake before heading in at the far post, but an improved City side hit them back after the break.
While £51million summer signing Erling Haaland didn’t score, new arrival Julian Alvarez did, forcing home a close-range effort after 70 minutes.
Haaland will want to forget his late effort from six yards when he hit the crossbar when faced with an open goal.
“He had chances, two or three in the first half, and one at the end, and he’s always there,” said municipal coach Pep Guardiola.
On the Norwegian international’s evidence, he added: “He’s strong, he’s going to put it in the net again. It happened. It’s football. It was there. Another goal was disallowed because the ball was over the line
“He fought a lot and made the moves. It’s good for him to see the reality of a new country and a new league. He was there but today he didn’t score and another day he will score. He has incredible quality and he will.
“It’s only been two weeks, two and a half weeks, and I’m very comfortable with what we’re seeing since we’ve come this season. I’m not worried at all. The reality is we’ve got two or three months ahead of us. He’s going to help us.”
The FA condemns the ‘dangerous and illegal’ use of smoke bombs
The Football Association later issued a statement after flares were set off at various stages of the match.
“We are aware of incidents during the FA Community Shield where flares were used in the stands,” it said. “Using smoke bombs or pyrotechnics in a football stadium is dangerous, illegal and can have serious consequences.
“We can confirm that we are investigating the matter and will work with the relevant authorities, the clubs and the police to identify those involved and take appropriate action.
“This season the FA, Premier League and EFL announced tougher new measures and sanctions to tackle anti-social and criminal behavior on football pitches.
“Premier League clubs and the EFL have agreed that if their fans identify themselves with flares in the stadium, those people will receive a ban from the club. We hope the club will also investigate these incidents and implement the new rules if place”.