Klopp outplayed Guardiola, Nunez outplayed Holand
Clearly, Guardiola and Klopp decided to approach the rhythm of preseason preparation differently. It is always particularly important for top clubs to intelligently build up their reserves for the entire upcoming season, where they will be tackling at the highest level and fighting for all the trophies. Therefore, it is always with a special fastidiousness to look at how this or that powerful team conducts its preparation for the season, so as not to sag somewhere in the future.
For Liverpool, this match was already the fifth in pre-season preparation, while for City it was only the third. On the one hand, one could assume that the Citizens would be fresher, and on the other hand, that Liverpool were in better playing condition. The second statement turned out to be more true, judging from the opening game.
At the start, Klopp’s players looked sharper, more dynamic, moved more intensely and showed a fighting spirit. “City” worked more academically and measured. By the middle of the half, Liverpool’s advantage in the game also translated into an advantage in terms of scoring. Alexander-Arnold had an excellent shot on Salah’s pass. Only after conceding a goal did City really engage. Either Liverpool switched to a more cautious mode. But since then, the Citizens’ advantage began to grow, although there were not many clear-cut chances.
Undoubtedly, the main figures in the match had to be the teams’ expensive new center-forwards. “City acquired Erling Hollande in the summer to solve the problem of the lack of an attacking striker, while Liverpool strengthened Darwin Nunez. And while Guardiola immediately bet on his newcomer, placing him in the center, Klopp opted for a conservative starting lineup that was full of familiar faces. Except that the familiar Alisson was replaced in goal by Adrien – because of an injury to the former.
Holland had more time to prove himself against Nunez. But the Norwegian, who looked bright in preseason, still seemed nervous about the burden of responsibility he was given. Erling missed some very good chances, calling into question his title of penalty king, which they were already in a hurry to bestow upon him. Especially egregious was the incident at the very end of the game, when Holand hit the crossbar from six yards out, striking unobstructed. There were other misses as well.
Nunez, who came on as a substitute in the 58th minute, replacing Firmino, immediately showed his advantage over Roberto. Darwin, who recently distinguished himself with a poker in the game against Leipzig, began to draw attention to himself, sharpen up, open up and threaten the goal. He was not the “dormant” forward that Firmino might have been. Nunez was “awake,” and very much so. Darwin earned the penalty when Ruben Dias played with his hand after his header. In the equalizing period, he dotted down, scoring Liverpool’s third goal with a dropped header.
In 36 minutes on the field, Nunez earned a penalty, scored a goal, took four shots on goal and did not allow a single inaccurate pass. Holand had only three shots on goal and 78 percent of accurate assists for the full game, as well as a hit on the crossbar and a cancelled goal after a pass to him from outside the box. In any case, Nunez’s debut in an official match was much more successful. But will this single game set the tone for the whole confrontation between these clubs and forwards? We’ll find out soon enough.
Even Julian Alvarez’s debut was more noticeable than Holand’s, coming on as a substitute for Manchester City in the 58th minute. He, along with Foden, replaced Grealish and Marez. Unfortunately, nothing good can be said about Jack again. Because both Foden and Alvarez made the game noticeably more lively than it was before their appearance. And if Phil’s liveliness is already customary, then Julian’s dynamism could be a pleasant surprise for the City fans.
The 22-year-old Alvarez, a transfer from River Plate, was able to equalize. He found his feet just in time when Adrian failed to lock onto the ball at point-blank range and finished it off. The referee called off the tally at first, saying it was an attack on the goalkeeper, but VAR helped make it count. It should be noted that we can’t put that goal down only to Adrian’s mistake. Overall, the goalkeeper did a great job, turning away a lot of dangerous shots. His reaction time was excellent.
With the scoreline being equal, one could have thought City would conquer and turn the game around. Especially with the arrival of Guardiola’s trickster Gundogan. But Nunez intervened under the circumstances already described above, whose contribution helped Liverpool regain and even consolidate the lead.
By the way, for Klopp this victory over Guardiola was his 11th. No one has ever beaten him more often. At the same time, Guardiola himself beat Klopp nine times, and five more matches between these coaches ended in a draw. For Jurgen the Super Cup was the 12th trophy in his coaching career, and seven of them he took with Liverpool, collecting all the domestic English titles and the Champions League. Well, for Liverpool, this is the 16th Super Cup victory for England – the previous one was in 2006. It caught up with Arsenal and they are second only to Manchester United who have 21 trophies.