The annual English football curtain-raiser takes place at the King Power Stadium in Leicester on Saturday, as Liverpool and Manchester City lock horns for the chance to lift the Community Shield. Jurgen Klopp’s side got their hands on both domestic cups last season, but it was the Citizens who finished as top dogs in the Premier League yet again. With the England Women’s team seeking to go one better than the men did at the European Championships, the 100th Community Shield will be staged away from Wembley while the Lionesses face off against Germany for a shot at glory.
Instead, Leicester City’s King Power Stadium – a turf where Liverpool suffered one of their rare losses in the 2021-22 season – will host the charity match, as the Foxes prepare to relinquish the crown they won last year by overcoming Man City in the final. Liverpool have been crowned outright winners of the Community Shield on 10 occasions – sharing the honour in another five seasons – but not since 2006 have the Reds got their hands on that particular piece of silverware. Klopp’s side had their penchant for penalty shootouts to thank for their FA and EFL Cup double over Chelsea last season, but both of Liverpool’s last two Community Shield defeats have actually come from 12 yards, most recently to Arsenal in the 2020 edition.
Two wins and two defeats have come the Reds’ way in pre-season so far, but preparations for the reunion with City did not go according to plan in Austria during a 1-0 defeat to Red Bull Salzburg, and Strasbourg will also pay a visit to Anfield 24 hours after the Community Shield. Lightning literally did strike twice at the Lambeau Field during Man City’s recent friendly with German champions Bayern Munich, as the game was delayed by 15 minutes before being shortened by a further 10 due to stormy conditions in Green Bay. Before players were taken off the field, there was time for Guardiola and the City faithful to witness Erling Braut Haaland score his first goal in sky blue to hand the Premier League holders a 1-0 win, adding to their previous 2-1 success against Club America thanks to a Kevin De Bruyne double.
Man City’s pre-season period is now technically over, but Guardiola will renew hostilities with Barcelona for an ALS charity friendly at the end of August, and the Citizens have an added motivation to come out on top in the annual curtain-raiser. Indeed, Leicester prevented Man City from getting their hands on the trophy last year, which would have represented the Sky Blues’ seventh outright triumph in the one-off match, but they have now lost more Community Shield matches than they have won. Meetings between City and Liverpool in the latter stages of cup tournaments are commonplace nowadays, and the 2021-22 season saw the two powerhouses play out a pair of pulsating 2-2 draws in the Premier League before the Reds survived a scare to win their FA Cup semi-final by three goals to two.
The Liverpool treatment room has been well-occupied during the period of summer friendlies, and Klopp has confirmed that Alisson Becker will miss out owing to his abdominal problem. Diogo Jota’s hamstring injury is also set to render him unavailable, while Kostas Tsimikas has also joined Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the medical bay after picking up a knock in training. Calvin Ramsay and Caoimhin Kelleher have also been nursing physical problems in pre-season, so Adrian may be required in goal at the King Power. Roberto Firmino has been strongly linked with a move to Juventus in recent days, but the Brazil international should nevertheless battle Darwin Nunez for the number nine spot here.
As for Man City, Ruben Dias was able to complete 57 minutes of the win over Bayern after battling through his injury and illness woes, but Aymeric Laporte remains sidelined with a knee injury. The trio of John Stones, Phil Foden and Ilkay Gundogan were all unable to travel to the USA for pre-season but will be back at Guardiola’s disposal here, with the former and Nathan Ake ready to take some of the defensive burden off of Dias’s shoulders. Haaland was only given 41 minutes of action in Green Bay but is sure to lead the line ahead of Julian Alvarez, while fellow new arrival Kalvin Phillips should settle for a place on the bench.
Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Firmino, Diaz
Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Dias, Stones, Cancelo; Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Haaland, Grealish