Liverpool face Manchester City in the traditional curtain raiser, The Community Shield, at Wembley tomorrow afternoon. A game which properly signifies the start of the domestic season will be contested between arguably two of the best teams in Europe, well, at least one anyway. The Reds head into the game on the back of their most impressive pre-season performance against Lyon at the Stade de Geneve. City also head into the game on the back of a 3-1 win against Yokohama FM of Japan. Although the results can’t be read into too much, a win against one of France’s best teams looks better on paper than a Japanese side. Jurgen Klopp took his players to Evian, Switzerland for the second consecutive year in preparation for the start of the season. The players spent a week there, a week which Klopp described to be the “most important of the season.” The team chemistry certainly seems to be highest with many players having banter with each other on social media over a table tennis tournament. Skipper Jordan Henderson claimed to have won the tournament, but many of the squad disputed that “fact.” Embed from Getty Images Tomorrow could be the first chance Reds’ fans have to catch a glimpse of Harry Wilson against a top team. The Community Shield allows managers to make up to 6 substitutions so there’s a high chance the Welshman could make an appearance after his worldie against Lyon the other day. There’s also a question to be asked regarding the centre back partnership Klopp will go with. All signs point towards the pairing that won the Champions League in June, Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip. You never know with Klopp though. In all likelihood, Matip will be rewarded for his stellar second half of the season. It’ll also be interesting to see if Mo Salah and Bobby Firmino start. The two only returned to pre-season on Monday with Firmino scoring in the win over Lyon. They both looked sharp, as did Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri who both returned on Monday also. This leads me to believe that they’ll start, especially because of how worse off we look with them out the team. Embed from Getty Images City’s only real injury worry is Aymeric Laporte. The Frenchman reportedly has some sort of knock and is a doubt for Sunday. It’ll be interesting to see how the squad reacts to losing highly influential leaders Vincent Kompany and Fabian Delph. Them two leaving could provide a space for a new leader to step up to the plate or the lack of leaders could impact the squad in a negative manner. With thousands of Liverpudlians flooding down to London over today and tomorrow, the opportunity is there to give us, as a collective group, something to be happy about. This sounds weird to say and it probably is but the lack of activity in the transfer market makes the 1st of June feel like years ago. The fans in attendance and indeed those watching at home will be expecting a performance from Liverpool after a somewhat poor pre-season. The players also have a point to prove. The point being that the triumph in Madrid wasn’t a fluke, that they can continually challenge and beat their rivals to trophies. Obviously, the one up for grabs tomorrow afternoon is nowhere near the one we won in June but silverware is silverware and the players will be desperate to get another trophy under their belts. After all, winning breeds winning. Many see this as a glorified friendly but this is a chance for Liverpool to get one over City, a chance to make a statement even before the Premier League starts. It could go either way but I’m going with Liverpool to win on penalties after a 2-2 draw.
- Player Ratings: 2019/20 Preseason
- Predicted XI: Manchester City (Community Shield)