Liverpool opened their season at Wembley with the Community Shield against Man City and despite coming from behind with a good second-half performance, ended up losing 5-4 on penalties.
Liverpool 1-1 Man City (4-5 on pens)
Community Shield, Wembley
August 4, 2019
Goals: Matip 77′; Sterling 12′
Alisson – 6 (out of 10)
Fumbled at the early goal, but it was straight at him from about two yards away so not much he could have done. Good near-post save from Sterling afterwards, but some mixed passing.
Went the wrong way for the first three penalties, got hands to the fourth but couldn’t keep it out. Needed to save the fifth to keep the Reds in it but couldn’t.
Beaten a little easily down the wing several times in the first half. Some poor passes into the midfield and forward lines, and some overhit corners meant it was a pretty disappointing first half, all in all.
A silly kick out toward Bernardo Silva could have landed him a red card with a VAR review, then his lax timing on stepping out allowed Sterling through for what should have been a second City goal.
Joe Gomez – 8 – Man of the Match
A sloppy moment cost a chance in the opening moments, but recovered to show good awareness and covering ability thereafter. One very good intervention around the half-hour mark down the City right.
Recovery pace was on show more than once and he tracked the runners from deep better than most.
Moved to right-back for the last 25 minutes and fared well, sorting his feet quickly for a couple of interceptions and keeping pace for the counter-attacks.
Virgil van Dijk – 6
Not at his best and looked quite sluggish. Caught square by City’s runners from deep on more than one occasion.
Was much better as an attacker on this occasion; Unlucky to not score after hitting the bar in the second half, then teed a lovely cross over for the equaliser.
Andy Robertson – 7
One driving run aside, we didn’t see much of the left-back in an attacking sense. Constantly targeted by the big switch pass which left he and Trent isolated.
Strong in the challenge when it all got rather robust after the break.
Not his most effective outing but certainly one which served notice of his reliability and endurance, which in some games is just as important.
Fabinho – 6
Wasn’t always able to stop City dominating possession but made his share of challenges when he could get close enough.
A quiet game for the Brazilian, in truth. Not too many of his usual passes between the lines.
Jordan Henderson – 5
Full of running but little quality on the ball on this occasion. Bypassed by City’s quick passing through the middle third. One of several who didn’t react quickly enough for the opening goal.
Good recoveries later to help stop the crossfield switch from City which was causing Liverpool all sorts of problems—then completely ignored a runner in behind the defence to end the half with.
Led the pressing second half but his on-the-ball work was again sadly lacking at key moments. Best moment was quite possibly having a big go at Pep Guardiola on the sidelines a while after being subbed.
Gini Wijnaldum – 6
Made quite a number of forward runs which went totally unrewarded as team-mates failed to spot him or find him with a pass.
Not as involved as he would have liked in the Reds’ better spells of attacking play, but did good work with his covering play, his tracking back and helping out the defence.
Ended up as the deepest midfielder after all the subs. Took the second pen but saw it saved.
Mo Salah – 8
Didn’t take long to make a few of his trademark runs down the right channel, but the end product wasn’t there. Great skill in several one-on-one situations, including in the second half when he made space for a low drive and struck the base of the post.
His second-half shooting was much more accurate, but the woodwork and goalkeeper denied him—then he had one cleared off the line.
Liverpool’s best attacker after the break but certainly should have scored at least one. Did score his penalty, Liverpool’s fifth.
Roberto Firmino – 7
Good early play to carve a shooting chance for himself. Plenty of running the channels, linking deep and tackling City’s midfielders, but not much else in an attacking sense.
Surprising that he played as long as he did and hopefully he’s taken a big step toward peak fitness.
Divock Origi – 7
An outlet, but not a hugely busy one in the first half-hour. Showed more signs of his improved build-up play, though also a few of his customary lapses in judgement.
After being centre-forward all summer he was back out on the left here and wasn’t as influential as he can be.
A couple of scuffed shots but plenty of endeavour.
Starting XI Average Rating: 6.36
Joel Matip (on for Alexander-Arnold, 66′) – 8
Immediately beat Jesus for pace and strength—then headed the equaliser from close range.
Naby Keita (on for Fabinho, 66′) – 6
Didn’t get into the game for quite some time, but then had a good chance with a shot from the edge of the box.
Xherdan Shaqiri (on for Firmino, 78′) – 5
Tripped over the ball, lost possession in midfield, underhit two corners and threw the ball to City. Not his best cameo! Took the first penalty and buried it.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (on for Origi, 78′) – 6
Not long to impact but pressed hard, helped create a chance for Salah. Took the fourth penalty and buried a brilliant top-corner effort.
Adam Lallana (on for Henderson, 78′) – 6
Played 12 minutes plus stoppage time, no Cruyff turns, no injuries. Result. Very good, low-struck penalty for the third spot-kick.
Subs not used: Mignolet, Lovren.
Jurgen Klopp – 7
Good work from the boss at the break, perhaps, rousing the troops after a very much under-par first half.
More changes than City maybe contributed in part to the Reds’ second-half dominance, but Liverpool just played better in general, too. More passing, more angles on the pitch, higher upfield and coping better against the counter—this was a very positive response.
Nice to see plenty of subs made, although it was perhaps surprising that Mo and Bobby played as much as they did. Hopefully that’s guided by the fitness coaches as much as the players.
Decisions ahead for the first league game, in central defence and midfield.