Will squad depth be a concern for Liverpool ahead of the Community Shield as the Reds take on Manchester City for a chance at the first piece of silverware this season.
Man City vs Liverpool – FA Community Shield 2019/20
Venue: Wembley stadium
Date: Saturday, 4th August 2019
Kick-off: 3 PM BST
TV channel: BT Sport 1
The Reds of Merseyside will be playing their first Community Shield match since 2006 while the defending champions Manchester City will be looking to retain the Charity Shield for the first time in the club’s history.
Liverpool are the 2nd most-successful club in this competition (behind Man United), with 15 wins out of 21 games played. Man City, meanwhile are the inferior side here with just 5-wins to their name. But this time around, it looks like Liverpool are the underdogs with City’s recent dominance in English football.
Another factor to discuss here is the squad depth of both sides ahead of this fixture. As we know, players from both sides have participated in the Copa America as well as the Africa Cup of Nations tournament, they have arrived late in trainings due to extended holidays. Eventhough most of the players have returned, they are not fully fit to play from the start and hence the rest of the squad will have to opportunity to impress. For Man City, they have players who can play in a lot of different positions, like in the absence of Aguero, Raheem Sterling can play up-front and Bernando Silva can do the job in right-wing. However for Liverpool they lack depth in certain positions, for example, the attacking line, we know Sadio Mane won’t be available for the game and hence Shaqiri can have a go but with Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino also returning recently from holidays, there is not much depth at those positions. It will be interesting to see how many minutes Salah and Firmino can play.
All players except Fernandinho and Benjamin Mendy are in contention for the trip to Wembley.
The players included in the Copa America and AFCON tournaments arrived late in training following their summer breaks, are unlikely to start against Liverpool, but you can expect the likes of Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus to make an appearance from the bench.
Nathaniel Clyne has been sidelined with an Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury and is set to be out of action for at least six months.
Naby Keita, Mo Salah, Xherdan Shaqiri and Alisson are back in contention for Sunday’s game but expect some of them to be on the bench.
Sadio Mane is still on holiday following the AFCON tournament so he’s not expected to be involved in the Community Shield.
Man City and Liverpool have met 212 times in all competitions but this is the first time both teams will be competing against each other in the Community Shield. Liverpool are the front-runners in this competition, boasting a record of 15 wins while the Citizens have recorded won only five times.
Liverpool are the dominant side with 104 wins against the Citizens, City have been on the winning side 55 times and both teams sharing points on 53 occasions.
The last time both sides met was back in January where the Citizens won 2-1 with Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane scoring for the home side while Roberto Firmino was the only goal-scorer for the visitors.
What happens when you have the two top-scoring teams playing against each other? Obviously, the graph looks better. As the new season hasn’t kicked-off yet we take a look at the 2018/19 stats of both teams.
When we talk about stats, Sergio Aguero is a must-have in the conversation. The Argentine scored 21 goals last season (4th highest in the league), scoring a goal every 118 minutes. Moving on, we have Raheem Sterling who was involved equally in both goals and assists, Sterling scored an impressive 17 goals and 12 assists last season, contributing to a goal every 96 minutes. One who’s going under the radar is Leroy Sane. Sane scored 10 goals and 11 assists last season despite playing less minutes. Sane has a goal contribution every 89 minutes in the PL, also with Aguero not fully fit for the Community Shield, Sane could make the most out of this opportunity.
It was another successful season for the trio of Salah Firmino and Mane as they contributed 56 goals and 15 assists altogether. Mo Salah and Sadio Mane were the joint top-scorers along with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (22 goals each) while Roberto Firmino had a disappointing mid-season and ended with 12 goals. With Sadio Mane set to miss the community shield, Jurgen Klopp could use Xherdan Shaqiri once again. Shaqiri, was the most shocking signing last season when Liverpool decided to sign the Swiss International from relegated Stoke City. Shaqiri has done the job for his team whenever called on by the manager. Shaqiri scored 6 goals and 3 assists last season, involved in a goal every 117 minutes.
The best attack in the league vs the best defence in the league. The highest clean sheets in the league vs the second highest clean sheets in the league. Two teams who have given it their all, from attack to defence both teams have been so close. But as we speak, we know many players from both sides have been involved in the Copa America and the AFCON, hence the players have returned late to training. This means, the players will not be at their best, but you can never question their will to win. Both teams will be a but rusty on attacking and defensive transitions so it could either be a high-scoring game or a low-scoring one.
Liverpool must be hungrier than ever to beat Manchester City after they lost the league to the Citizens last season by just one point. Although, the Community Shield doesn’t count as a major trophy but Liverpool won’t let this one go easily. Manchester City, on the other hand, will be looking to retain the Community Shield. They know how how lethal this Liverpool side so don’t expect Pep to play an easy side. Both sides will be missing some key players and squad depth will play an important role in this game. We expect this to be a high-scoring game with Man City just making it through to win the game.