Manchester City - Liverpool : Núñez 1 - Haaland 0, Alvarez en supersub... match contrasté pour les nouveaux n°9

Manchester City – Liverpool : Núñez 1 – Haaland 0, Alvarez en supersub… match contrasté pour les nouveaux n°9

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City – Liverpool, Liverpool – City, English football has been punctuated in recent months by the crossovers of its two strongholds. And even when the game is on hiatus, the time of a summer market, the two Premier League leaders exchanged blows. The Mancunian team thinks it has hit the jackpot with the signing of Erling Haaland, the prolific Norwegian who put the Bundesliga on fire and blood. The Reds broke the bank for the other new “kid on the block” surfaces, Darwin Núñez, from Benfica. Saturday’s Community Shield was the occasion for a distance clash between the two players, destined to become the new great rivalry of the Kingdom. After the first round, clear advantage in favor of the Uruguayan.

Jürgen Klopp had however insisted both in the pre-match and on the composition of the day: Roberto Firmino is “the heart and soul” of his Liverpool. So 75 million or not, Núñez does not arrive on conquered ground within the liverpuldian attack. He will have to face a period of adaptation, both vis-à-vis the game practiced in Albion, and with his teammates. Clever, the German technician also knew that not immediately throwing his new flagship recruit into the deep end would undoubtedly allow him to avoid the waves of legitimate pressure on him. His first steps, it is true quite uneven, in preparation and the reaction of the supporters proved him right at kick-off. The performance of his new protege on Saturday, even more.

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Is Darwin Nunez worth all this madness?

Núñez sometimes clumsy, always available

Coming into play for the last half hour, Núñez changed everything, or almost, in the game of his team. Held in check but in control of the game, the Mersey club was more pressing than ever on the goal of Ederson once his last acquisition on the lawn. As he was used to in Lisbon, the South American did not count his efforts, both in his movements and his pressing. If he lacked precision in the last gesture against Ederson on his first attempt (63rd), his weight on the Mancunian rearguard was quick to bear fruit.

At the origin of the action thanks to his activity in the loss of the ball, Darwin Núñez obtained the penalty of 2-1 – converted by Mo Salah – for a header touched with the hand by Ruben Dias. Number 27 could have stopped there, decisive, but not fully in the light. But the attacker is a goal hunter, a real one. His whim passed just wide from a corner (86th) hinted at his potential contribution to the aerial game, already not a weak point for the Reds (Van Dijk, Konaté, Jota, etc.). A taste of his second helmet, the coup de grace for City (3-1, 93rd) in added time.

The goal of Darwin Nunez (Liverpool) during the Community Shield against Manchester City, July 30, 2022

Credit: Getty Images

Klopp could celebrate. His tactical move therefore paid off. “Yes, Darwin is goodhad fun in his traditional mischievous style at TVI. We see him in training, there, he was involved in all the dangerous situations. He opened the game for us, but he was also there to finish the action. He had a good game.“And he scored.

16 balls only for Haaland

Erling Haaland cannot say the same. The one who has made it his specialty to pile up the goals in almost every game played will not keep an imperishable memory. It seems a long time ago when the Norwegian slammed a hat-trick in twenty minutes for his first official steps with Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga. Faced with the very dense rear of Liverpool, Haaland did not exist. Weaned from the opportunity to take depth, never able to physically abuse his vis-à-vis, Virgil van Dijk in the lead, the striker has never weighed in the game of his people.

It must be said that Manchester City seemed to have completely lost the habit of playing with a real surface striker on Saturday. Playing with a finisher like Haaland has little to do with false number nines Phil Foden, or even Bernardo Silva, or with a Gabriel Jesus who was actively involved in creating the game. to his new environment. We also saw him frankly borrowed on one of his rare opportunities to accelerate on the counter-attack, in the 56th minute, provoking the ire of Kevin De Bruyne, furious to see his partner motionless.

Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez won the Community Shield

Credit: Getty Images

The bar for Haaland, the goal for Alvarez

A figure is worth a thousand words: Erling Haaland only touched 16 small balls in 95 minutes of play. A paltry total for a player of his caliber. The contrast is all the more striking as he, usually so clinical in front of the cages, missed a ready-made goal at the end of the match, touching the crossbar alone in front of Adrian’s goal. The same kind of miss that saw his counterpart Núñez being mocked on social networks during the pre-season…

It’s good that he discovers the reality of a new country and a new championship, reacted Pep Guardiola in a press conference. He didn’t score. But he has incredible qualities and he will do it. When Haaland scored in the United States (note, against Bayern Munich last Sunday), everyone said how impressive he was. He was there and he had chances, nothing changed. He is strong. Another time, he will put the ball in the bottom. It’s soccer.”

The Catalan coach will therefore have some lessons to learn from his attacking animation. And not necessarily only bad ones. In the shadow of Haaland, Julian Alvarez also made his debut. The Argentinian, bought and then loaned last winter to River Plate, also entered around the 60th minute of play, alongside the former Dortmund player when he is expected more as his understudy this season. And it was he who gave Manchester City hope for a time, by opportunistically equalizing – following a poorly repelled strike – just 12 minutes after coming off the bench. Available, active in the game, the 22-year-old scored points, even if he could not prevent the defeat of his family. We only ask to see him again.

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