Manchester City won the Community Shield with a 5-4 penalty shootout victory over title-rivals Liverpool after an engrossing 1-1 draw at Wembley.
City posed the greater attacking threat in the opening exchanges against an uncharacteristically vulnerable Liverpool defence, the champions fashioning the first chance as Leroy Sane lashed a shot into the side-netting inside four minutes.
But Liverpool responded as Roberto Firmino plucked the ball down on the edge of the City area and stung Claudio Bravo’s palms with a fierce drive. The Brazilian then released Salah in behind, but the Egyptian could only find the side-netting.
Sane’s afternoon ended abruptly as he was forced off with a suspected knee injury following a collision with Trent Alexander-Arnold but, while his replacement Gabriel Jesus was being readied, City hit the front.
A free-kick out to the left was helped into the area by John Stones and David Silva, and Sterling pounced with a close-range effort that squirmed under Alisson into the back of the net.
The intensity of the contest lessened as half-time approached, but tempers flared off the field as City boss Guardiola was booked for remonstrating against an unpunished Joe Gomez challenge on David Silva.
Liverpool made a marked improvement after the interval and looked to have drawn level on 57 minutes when Van Dijk’s near-post flick cannoned down off the crossbar, but the Goal Decision System ruled the whole of the ball had not crossed the whole of the line.
Seconds later, the woodwork denied Liverpool for the second time as Salah’s low drive flashed past Bravo’s outstretched arm but struck the base of the post.
Sterling should have doubled his and City’s tally just after the hour when Walker released him through on goal, but indecision, whether to shoot or pass at the crucial moment, saw the ball run through to Alisson.
And Liverpool took full advantage of their reprieve, equalising through an unlikely source as Jordan Henderson’s free-kick was sent back across goal by Van Dijk, allowing substitute Matip to head home from six yards.
Liverpool pushed for the winner in a frantic finale that saw City nearly hand the Reds the Shield with a series of unforced errors. Salah broke into the area after pouncing on a loose Rodri pass but was thwarted by Bravo’s sprawling save. Nicolas Otamendi’s error then released the Egyptian through on goal in stoppage-time, but Bravo saved again before a stunning goal-line clearance from Walker prevented Salah’s headed rebound from finding the target.
Xherdan Shaqiri and Ilkay Gundogan scored their side’s first spot-kick but Bravo’s save from Wijnaldum handed City the initiative. Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Oleksandr Zinchenko all converted from 12 yards, allowing Jesus to score the winning penalty that sealed the Shield.