Liverpool face their first real test of the summer when they take on Manchester City in the Community Shield on Saturday. The traditional curtain raiser will usher in the 2022/23 campaign. Here’s a preview of the game.

It is apt that the two best sides in the country over the past five years will contest this year’s Shield. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool have pushed each other to new limits since their arrival on these shores.

So much so that it’s developed into a brand new modern day rivalry. They’ve tussled for league titles over the years, and even though City have edged that particular count, the Reds can and will point to their success in Europe.

The Citizens pipped the Reds to the title by a single point last season (just like they did in 2018/19), whilst Liverpool knocked Pep’s men out of the FA Cup on their way to clinching the oldest Cup competition in the world.

This has set the two sides up to face each other again, this time at the King Power stadium with a chance to deal an early blow and claim bragging rights. The Community Shield may not be the most important piece of silverware but neither side will want to lose.

Jürgen Klopp put it best; “If you win it, it’s a very important competition but if you lose it, it becomes less important.

Liverpool haven’t won the Shield since 2006 and should see this as an opportunity to add the last missing piece of silverware to their trophy haul under the charismatic German. They’ve been twice unlucky in the Shield in recent times.

In 2019, they took on City at Wembley and after a 1-1 stalemate, lost 5-4 on penalties. They were back the following year after romping to their first title win in thirty years. This time, Arsenal were the opponents.

It was another penalty shootout defeat as the Reds lost out to Mikel Arteta’s outfit after another 1-1 stalemate. Third time lucky perhaps? They did manage to avoid defeat in all three clashes with City last season.

The two sides know each other well and serve up classics whenever they face off. Saturday could be another installment to whet the appetite ahead of the new campaign. Although both clubs are still in pre-season, you’d expect levels to be raised for this.

Liverpool have embarked on a tour of Asia as well as a training camp in Austria. They’ve taken in four friendlies to mixed results; two defeats (4-0 vs Manchester United, 1-0 vs RB Salzburg) and two victories (2-0 vs Crystal Palace, 5-0 vs RB Leipzig).

City on the other hand went on a US tour and won both of their friendlies (2-1 vs Club America, 1-0 vs Bayern Munich). The latter was a weather affected affair, with play having to be paused a while due to heavy rain and lightening.

Whether this means they are undercooked remains to be seen. You can never question the fitness of a Guardiola side but it feels like less than ideal preparation. Headline signing, Erling Haaland, has only played one half of football in pre-season for example.

It should still be a good game, with both sides boasting some of the very best talents in the world. Expect them to go hammer and tongs at each other as they seek to get one over the other.

Team News

There are a couple of absentees for Liverpool. Alisson Becker misses out after an abdominal injury. He’s expected to be back for the opening day fixture at Craven Cottage however. Caomhin Kelleher also misses out through injury, with the Irishman not involved in pre-season at all.

Scottish right back Calvin Ramsay is also unavailable, whilst Kostas Tsimikas (sore knee) will be assessed. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (muscle) is also out, as is Diogo Jota after a recurrence of a hamstring injury he sustained on international duty last month.

For Manchester City, Aymeric Laporte is the only absentee as he closes in on a return from medial collateral ligament damage. Phil Foden is available after missing the US tour with injury. Erling Haaland is fit and expected to lead the line.

Key Players

Mohamed Salah

The Egyptian will as ever carry the threat for Liverpool. He’s coming into this campaign off the back of a new three year deal which puts him up there with the best paid players in the country. He will want to show from day one that he’s not going to relent.

He’s looked sharp in pre-season and scored against Palace and Leipzig. You can expect most of Liverpool’s attacks to go through the right channel where he and Trent will seek to link up to devastating effect.

Kevin De Bruyne

The Belgian remains the Champions’ best player. He was instrumental in the run in last season and looks set to continue where he left off. He netted a brace against Club America and will be at the heart of all that City do.

Darwin Nunez

Debuts don’t come tougher than against City and Ruben Dias. The manager has a decision on his hands picking between Darwin and Firmino to lead the line. Whichever way he goes, expect all eyes to be on the Uruguayan when he gets on the pitch.

Erling Haaland

The Norwegian’s addition to the City side is intriguingly similar to Liverpool’s purchase of Darwin as both sides seek a goalscoring spearhead. Expect this first meeting to be billed as a battle of the number 9s. Haaland scored against Bayern and will want to make his mark here up against Van Dijk.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s