Liverpool faces Man City on Saturday in the Community Shield as the FA Cup winners face off against the Premier League champions. The biggest talking point from this match will be the big-money strikers acquired by the clubs in the off-season. The Reds have replaced Sadio Mane with Darwin Nunez whilst Man City have offloaded two attackers and signed goalscoring prodigy Erling Haaland. Both clubs will want to lay down a marker but this could also still have the distinctive feel of a pre-season friendly.
Liverpool had an amazing season last time and won two trophies in the shape of the Carabao Cup and FA Cup. Their second half of the Premier League season saw them win 16 and draw three of their final 19 matches. They went into the UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid on a run of just one defeat in 34 matches in all competitions.
Unfortunately for Jurgen Klopp’s charges, they were beaten 1-0 by Los Blancos in Paris as they faced a goalkeeping masterclass and couldn’t finish a plethora of clear chances. They will have had four friendlies prior to this match with results typically swinging wildly – they lost 4-0 to Man Utd but also beat RB Leipzig 5-0. Not much can be read into pre-season results due to the number of substitutions made and varying degrees of fitness and fatigue.
Liverpool Team News
The Reds have seen Sadio Mane depart to Bayern Munich whilst Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino are other notable departures. The big-money arrival of Darwin Nunez from Benfica could change the way the team plays and the centre forward is set to start this one.
Fabio Carvalho (attacking midfielder) and Calvin Ramsey (right back) come in but are expected to play minor roles initially. Diogo Jota, Alisson Becker, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have all missed parts of pre-season with injuries and none are expected to start this match. Caoimhin Kelleher is set to play in goal. Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah will flank Darwin Nunez.
This will be a key match to gain match fitness and get up to speed ahead of the league season. Jurgen Klopp will want to win but he won’t risk guys with knocks nor push too many players to the 90-minute mark if they are not ready.
On the wide Wembley pitch, in the relative heat of July, Liverpool may be a lot more circumspect in their style of play. A defeat would be “not cool”, as Klopp would say, but is no disaster and won’t give much indication of the season ahead.
Man City Form
City won the league title on the final day of last season as their only silverware of the campaign. Their last 31 matches in all competitions have seen them lose just twice – 3-2 to Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final and 3-1 at Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final stage. In domestic games, they’ve been scoring plenty of goals. They beat Brighton 3-0, Watford 4-1, Leeds 4-0 away, Newcastle 5-0, Wolves 5-1 away, and Aston Villa 3-2 on the final day. They’ve netted 27 in their last seven league matches.
City have won two friendlies matches. They beat Club America 2-1 and then Bayern Munich 1-0. Erling Haaland netted the only goal in that match as City had 22 shots and allowed just three.
Man City Team News
For City, the big news of the summer was the arrival of Erling Haaland from Dortmund. The Norwegian netted 85 goals in 88 games for the German club and will lead the line from day one. Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus have both been sold so Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, and Riyad Mahrez will compete for the wide positions.
Kalvin Phillips has joined in central midfield (to replace Fernandinho) and could debut in this one, probably from the bench. Both Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias are returning from injuries and could be protected in this match ahead of the league getting underway. Nathan Ake and John Stones would start whilst Joao Cancelo at left-back after Oleksandr Zinchenko’s sale to Arsenal.
Man City Motivation
It’s not clear how seriously Guardiola will take this match. He played a few fringe players in this fixture a year ago as City were beaten 1-0 by Leicester. It’s possible he will again hand minutes to some younger players to ensure no burden is placed on unfit senior players.
City won the 2019 Community Shield against Liverpool on penalties but finished second that season so Guardiola won’t put much stock in this result – it’s a glorified friendly.
Liverpool have won 16 of their last 19 PL matches (D3)
Liverpool have drawn 3 of their last 4 matches against Man City
Liverpool and City have seen over 3.5 goals in their last 4 meetings
The last 7 goals LFC have conceded have been the first goal in the match
City have won 22 of their last 27 PL matches (L1, D4)
City have lost 2 of their last 32 matches (all comps)
City’s Haaland scored 85 goals in 88 matches for Dortmund
This season’s curtain-raiser is so often a relatively slow match with few goals. The pitch, the weather, and the timing all play a major part in that. It looks unlikely we will see many goals so under 1.5 goals could be a smart bet. A draw in regulation time also looks like a bet worth taking.
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