Former City duo Shaun Goater and Steve Howey believe there were positives aplenty to emerge despite Saturday’s 3-1 Community Shield loss to Liverpool – not least a debut goal for summer signing Julian Alvarez.

The Argentine striker was brought on as substitute early in the second half at Leicester’s King Power Stadium and made an immediate impact, levelling affairs with a fine poacher’s finish from close range on 70 minutes.

And though Liverpool eventually ran out winners thanks to a late Mohamed Salah penalty and injury time striker from Darwin Nunez, for both Goater and Howey, who were our special guests on Matchday Live, there were numerous reasons for optimism for Pep Guardiola’s Premier League champions.

Not least that sparkling showing from Alvarez who instantly hit the ground running on his first appearance in England and who showed great awareness and hunger in firing home from close range in a tussle with Liverpool keeper Adrian.


“It’s the first time I have properly seen Julian Alvarez and I think he could be a star in the making,” declared former City and England central defender Howey.

“The message from the manager at half time would have been to change the game in our favour. And Alvarez and Phil Foden helped do that when they came on.

“You know what you are going to get from Foden and I’m not surprised as he’s a wonderful player.

“But Alvarez has the same mannerisms for me a bit like Sergio Aguero and if he is halfway as good as him then you have a top, top striker on your hands.”

Howey’s admiration for Alvarez was echoed by his former City colleague Goater with the former strike legend also instantly taken with the Argentine’s English debut.

“I’m pleased for him as a striker to have scored having come on from the bench. The fact he has come on and scored will be huge for his confidence,” declared the Goat.


“Strikers read these situations. He gets his foot on the ball at the same time as the keeper and earns that bit of luck.

“He will be pleased to have scored when not starting. Now he will look forward to the next game to try and keep making an impact.”

With the new Premier League campaign getting underway on Sunday when we visit West Ham, the former City duo also said there were many encouraging signs ahead of our trip to the London Stadium.

“The positives were how we kept the ball, how we moved the ball, and when the game went deep into the second half we showed another gear,” Goater added.

“We stayed compact when Liverpool pushed.

“And for me there is going to be that connection between Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland and with Riyad Mahrez too so there is a lot to be positive about.”

Howey shared Goater’s encouraging assessment and says City can uses the result as further fuel in terms of our desire to replicate last season’s magnificent title success.

“There will be a difference in fitness levels at this stage of the summer and Liverpool having played those extra few games helps,” Howey pointed out.

“In terms of your touch and movement, everything about a game is so different to training.

“But there was a big period in that game that I felt City dominated. Yes, Liverpool had spells of possession which you would expect but I felt City dominated them too.

“The 3-1 scoreline flatters Liverpool. The defeat will hurt but the manager will use that to say: ‘You know how it feels, let’s turn this into a positive’ and I’m sure we will.”