The city of London will literary be on standstill on Sunday as two of England’s best teams at the moment, Manchester City and Liverpool lock horn in the 111th installment of the FA Community Shield Cup at the Wembley Stadium.
Tradition dictates that the yearly curtain-raiser is usually contested between the Premier League and FA Cups winners, but as Pep Guardiola’s side clinched all three domestic cups in 2018/19, they will have to pit their wits against last season’s top-flight runners-up.
The game will have little bearing on the season ahead, but both sides would obviously love to record a small psychological victory over their inevitable title rival
City are the reigning Premier League title-holder while Liverpool last season won the UEFA Champions League title after beating Tottenham in the final. City also beat Liverpool to the title by a single point in an enthralling Premier League campaign last term before cruising to a 6-0 win over Watford in the FA Cup final.
The Citizens have navigated their way through pre-season relatively comfortably, winning three of their four games with new signing Rodri making an immediate impression in Pep Guardiola’s midfield.
Liverpool meanwhile have endured a rather less convincing summer. While beating Lyon on Wednesday, the Reds failed to register a win in their previous four against admittedly tough opposition in Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla, Sporting Lisbon, and Napoli.
Neither side will be firing on full cylinders given that plenty of stars will have only recently returned from extended breaks due to the Copa America and Africa Cup of Nations.
For Liverpool, they have welcomed back Xherdan Shaqiri and Naby Keita following their respective injury lay-offs, while the likes of Alisson, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah have joined the club’s training camp in Evian. However, Sadio Mane will miss out after he was given an extended break following his exertions with Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations.
There are no major injury issues for Guardiola team, apart from long-term absentee Benjamin Mendy, while this weekend could see the introduction of Rodri, who has featured heavily throughout pre-season.
Head to Head Record
With 15 Shields to their name, Liverpool goes into Sunday’s clash as the second most successful club in the competition’s history, behind Manchester United with 21, and will be playing the Citizens for the first time in the encounter.
City have won the Shield five times, and are the current holders following last year’s 2-0 win over Chelsea. They are similarly inferior when it comes to their overall record against the Reds, with just 55 wins from 213 games, compared to Liverpool’s tally of 104. There have been 53 draws.
Possible Line up
Liverpool XI: Ederson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Keita, Henderson, Wilson, Salah, Origi
Man City XI: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko, de Buryne, Rodri, David Silva, Bernardo Silva, Aguero, Sterling
With Klopp already conceding that he does not expect his side to be at their best, coupled with their recent defeats in pre-season, this may prove a match in which City assert an early dominance on the forthcoming season and cement their intentions to clinch more domestic silverware. Liverpool 1-3 Man City