Stars return for Liverpool ahead of Norwich opener during Community Shield shoot-out loss to champions
- Credit: PA
Liverpool have shown Norwich City they are rediscovering full strength ahead of the Premier League’s opening fixture, pushing Manchester City all the way in the Community Shield before being beaten on penalties.
Star names including Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Virgil van Dijk were all in the starting line-up for the Reds at Wembley, as well as Brazil goalkeeper Alisson and England internationals Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jordan Henderson.
The European champions renewed their rivalry with Pep Guardiola's side, who edged the Reds to the Premier League title by just a point last season.
City claimed the lead through Raheem Sterling in just the 12th minute, completing a swift team move with Alisson unable to stop the ball from crossing the line.
Salah hit the post for Jurgen Klopp's side in response, as did Sterling for City soon after the break. Van Dijk clattered the bar for Liverpool and a remarkable goal-line clearance from Kyle Walker denied Salah but Liverpool did find an equaliser in the 77th minute.
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It came from a Henderson free-kick on the right, which was knocked back into the box by Dutch defender van Dijk, allowing his defensive colleague Joel Matip to nudge in from close range.
City keeper Claudio Bravo was needed to deny Salah and Naby Keita in the closing stages and was again the hero after the game finished 1-1 and went to a penalty shoot-out, denying Gini Wijnaldum's effort, with Gabriel Jesus scoring the winning spot-kick.
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Liverpool boss Klopp picked his strongest-available team, with nine Champions League winners in his side. With Sadio Mane not back from leave after an extended Africa Cup of Nations until Monday, Divock Origi, a goal-scorer off the bench against Spurs during the Champions League final in Madrid in June.
Midfielder James Milner missed out as a precaution while there was no place for young forwards Rhian Brewster or Harry Wilson.
Next up for Liverpool it's Norwich, live in front of a global television audience at 8pm on Friday, as the promoted Canaries return to the glitz and glamour of the Premier League.
Klopp, speaking to BT Sport after the game, said: "Wow, it was a really good performance, a powerful one in the second half. Both teams had a similar pre-season, I spoke to Kevin de Bruyne after the game and we both said we don't really know where we are yet.
"The least we deserved was the equaliser, one save decided it and I cannot be disappointed today. The performance was much more important today than a win. We know we are still here, we can still play proper football.
"In the first half we could have adjusted better, but we had chances as well. In the second half we changed a few things, we wanted it and in the end it was a little bit lucky. Congratulations to City."
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold (Matip 67), Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Fabinho (Keita 67), Henderson (Lallana 79); Salah, Firmino (Shaqiri 79), Origi (Oxlade-Chamberlain 79). Unused subs: Mignolet (GK), Lovren.