Manchester City fired the first shot in their battle for supremacy with rivals Liverpool on Sunday as they snatched the Community Shield with a 5-4 penalty shoot-out win after a 1-1 draw at Wembley.
Raheem Sterling gave City a first half lead before Joel Matip grabbed a late equaliser for Liverpool in the annual curtain-raiser to the English top-flight season.
In the shootout, City keeper Claudio Bravo saved from Georginio Wijnaldum, with Gabriel Jesus driving in the winning kick after successful efforts from Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Oleksandr Zinchenko.
The jubilant celebrations from City’s players and fans showed inflicting an early psychological blow on Liverpool was a moment to savour, regardless of the supposed warm-up status of the glamour friendly.
With City installed as favourites to win the title for a third successive season and Liverpool expected to present the strongest challenge to Pep Guardiola’s side, their meeting on the eve of the season was a window into what to expect this term.
After pipping Liverpool to last season’s Premier League title with 98 points to their rivals’ 97, City went on to complete an unprecedented domestic treble by adding the FA Cup to the League Cup they won earlier in the campaign.
But Jurgen Klopp’s men didn’t dwell on that painful near-miss as they won the Champions League just weeks later.
On the evidence of this hard-fought contest, which featured both flashes of quality and signs of rustiness, there will little to separate the two teams as they go head-to-head for the major prizes once again over the next 10 months.