Darwin Nunez's influence as a substitute in helping Liverpool defeat Manchester City in the Community Shield impressed Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.
With 30 minutes remaining, the 23-year-old Uruguayan striker was introduced and put on an impressive cameo. If his £85 million summer transfer from Benfica materializes, he could break the club’s record for the most expensive signing.
He won the late penalty that Mohamed Salah converted to put the Reds up 2-1, then stooped to head home in additional time to record a 3-1 triumph in Leicester.
Except he also gave Ederson some trouble, drawing the City keeper into a collision that, but for an offside flag, might have resulted in a penalty on his very first attack, and then compelling the Brazil international to make a goal-saving stop.
Klopp stated: “It was good, it was really good. It is clear it will get better with time,”
“We live in a world where everybody gets judged on first sight and that’s not helpful for anybody but it happens constantly.
“In the first few games (of pre-season) we were not even close to the fitness level of today and then when he came on, we passed each ball for him to chase it and after the third ball he was completely killed and then everybody judged his first touches and these kind of things.
“It’s just a joke but we have to live with that, he will deal with it brilliantly. We are patient and we know he can do good stuff.
“We all know they are a special species, strikers. The other thing everybody needs (are) little positives. That means goals, or goal involvements.
“I think Darwin would have been fine even without scoring the third one because the penalty was Millie‘s cross and his header.
“The chance he had before he did really well, but Ederson reacted brilliantly. The goal was obviously the icing on the cake, so really pleased for him.
“You could see in his face, you could see in the face of all his team-mates how happy the boys are for him and that’s a really good sign after that short period of time that he is with us.”
After taking a justified 21st-minute lead through Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s strike that went in off Nathan Ake and inside the far post, they were tied after the break by a more improved City side.
While £51 million summer signing Erling Haaland failed to score, fellow arrival Julian Alvarez did after 70 minutes, forcing home a close-range shot.
Haaland had few opportunities to shoot, much less score, and he’ll want to put his late attempt from six yards that hit the crossbar when he had an open goal behind him.
Pep Guardiola, the manager of City, stated:
“He had chances, two or three in the first half, and one in the end, and always is there,”
Of the Norway international’s glaring late miss, he added:
“He is strong, another time he will put it in the net. It happened. It is football. He was there.
“He had another goal disallowed because the ball was over the line.
“He fought a lot and made the movements. It is good for him to see the reality of a new country and new league.
“He was there but today he didn’t score and another day he will score. He has an incredible quality and he will do it.
“He has had just two weeks, two weeks and a half, and I am really comfortable with what we are seeing since we arrived this season.
“I am not absolutely concerned. The reality is we have two or three months ahead of us. He is going to help us.”