Liverpool's winners, losers & ratings as Nunez sinks Man City in dream debut

Darwin Nunez Liverpool 2022-23
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The Uruguayan grabbed his first Reds goal as Jurgen Klopp's side clinched the Community Shield at the King Power Stadium

Liverpool secured the season’s first piece of silverware as debutant Darwin Nunez’s goal sealed a 3-1 victory over Manchester City at the King Power Stadium.

The Reds’ new £64 million ($76m) striker headed home in stoppage time to ensure the season’s first trophy will head to Anfield. The Uruguayan celebrated wildly in front of his new, adoring supporters, picking up a booking for removing his shirt in the process.

Earlier, Julian Alvarez’s goal had cancelled out Trent Alexander-Arnold’s first-half strike, before Mohamed Salah restored Liverpool’s lead from the penalty spot after Ruben Dias had handled Nunez’s headed effort.

City gave a debut to their own new centre-forward, Erling Haaland, but the Norwegian would endure a frustrating afternoon, capped when he spurned a glorious late chance from inside the six-yard box.

  1. The Winners
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    The Winners

    Darwin Nunez:

    Where else could you start? What a debut for the Uruguayan. What an ovation he was given, and what a hero he looks like he will be for Liverpool supporters. Came on, got right into the thick of things and, in stoppage time, got his reward. A first Reds goal, and it certainly won’t be his last. 

    Trent Alexander Arnold: 

    It hasn’t taken long for Liverpool’s homegrown right-back to hit his stride, has it? Another beautiful strike gave the Reds the lead. He’s scored 13 goals for the club, and 10 have been from outside the penalty area. His passing really is a joy to watch, and defensively he has clearly improved. Remains key to Liverpool.

    Joel Matip:

    Nunez aside, Jurgen Klopp’s big selection call was who would partner Virgil van Dijk in defence. Matip got the nod, and delivered a fine, front-foot performance. Has he booked himself in for Fulham in the process?

  2. The Losers

    Adrian:

    It feels harsh to describe anyone in red as a "loser" after this, but the Spaniard was responsible for allowing City back into the game, fumbling after saving from Phil Foden, with Alvarez benefiting. He's unorthodox, Adrian, but other than that he did OK.

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 

    The England midfielder is likely to miss up to two months with a hamstring injury suffered in the pre-season friendly win over Crystal Palace, and the timing could hardly be worse. Not only does it surely scupper any chance of a move before the window closes, but it means he will be playing catch-up when he does eventually return to fitness. He’s already, at best, eighth-choice midfielder, and it’s hard to see him featuring much before the World Cup to be honest.

  3. Liverpool Ratings: Defence
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    Liverpool Ratings: Defence

    Adrian (6/10):

    Not always comfortable with the ball at his feet, but made a smart save from Haaland in the first half, and repelled Mahrez after the break. Did he have his hands on the ball for Alvarez’s equaliser? Probably, but the Spaniard just doesn’t inspire confidence. Alisson will return for Fulham, and Liverpool will breathe a sigh of relief. 

    Alexander-Arnold (9/10):

    Gave Liverpool the lead with a beautiful, if deflected strike, and did well defensively against Grealish and Cancelo. 

    Robertson (8/10):

    Missed a decent early chance, and an even better late one, but always offered width and energy, and defended the back post well. Set up Nunez's goal.

    Matip (7/10):

    Passed the ball well, won his headers and justified his selection. 

    Van Dijk (7/10):

    In full control for the most part, and made some key interventions to deny De Bruyne and Haaland.

  4. Midfield
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    Midfield

    Fabinho (7/10):

    Helped Liverpool dominate early on, winning the ball strongly and switching the play quickly. Given more of a test as the game wore on but stood firm.

    Thiago (8/10):

    A joy to watch in this mood. Inventive, sure with his touch and ready to mix it always.

    Henderson (7/10):

    Full of endeavour and positivity, and created a good chance for Nunez which was saved. 

  5. Attack
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    Attack

    Salah (8/10):

    Bright early on, giving Cancelo nightmares. Laid on Alexander-Arnold’s goal, kept his nerve from the spot and then played a big part in Nunez's strike.

    Diaz (7/10):

    Non-stop running and a good tussle against Walker. His out-pacing of Rodri in the second half was a highlight, but his end product can certainly improve. 

    Firmino (7/10):

    He’s still got it. Linked the play superbly, held the ball up and enabled Liverpool to play through City’s midfield. Everything his manager would have asked for. Made way for Nunez just before the hour.

  6. Subs & Manager
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    Subs & Manager

    Nunez (8/10):

    Dream debut. Enough said.

    Milner (7/10):

    Did his job.

    Elliott (7/10):

    Bright and confident.

    Keita (N/A):

    Came on for Thiago.

    Carvalho (N/A):

    On late.

    Jones (N/A):

    Replaced Salah.

    Klopp (8/10):

    Resisted the urge to throw Nunez straight into the fray, trusting Firmino to deliver what he needed and then unleashing the Uruguayan. Matip over Konate was the right call too.