Two Talking Points Ahead of the Upcoming Community Shield 

The dust has barely settled on Manchester City’s three late goals at home to Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa, which broke Liverpudlian hearts the world over. But believe it or not, that was a month and a half ago, and in a few short weeks, the football season will be back underway with the annual curtain-raiser, the FA Community Shield.

Jurgen Klopp’s Reds will once again renew their rivalry with Pep Guardiola’s Blues. Oddschecker, which compares odds and provides free offers on English football, has made City the favourites to lift the trophy for the first time in three years. But just as they did in the FA Cup semifinal last season, Liverpool have defied the odds before, and at Leicester City’s King Power Stadium on 30th July, they will attempt to do so again. 

The match – played between the winners of the Premier League and the FA Cup – doesn’t have the same glamour that it does in comparison to the rest of Europe. In Italy, Germany and France, their ‘Super Cups’ are hotly contested fixtures.

In Spain, the competition has been turned into a money-spinner by Gerard Pique’s company, Kosmos. They brokered a deal to turn the competition into a four-team knockout tournament and took it to Saudi Arabia. 

In England, the fixture is stereotypically a glorified friendly. But this year, with it being contested by perhaps the two greatest teams in Europe across the past five years, fireworks are to be expected. Here are two talking points ahead of this season’s curtain-raiser. 

The two best teams on the planet renewing their rivalry

Perhaps Real Madrid would disagree with the above statement, but surely even the most rose-tinted of Madridistas would agree that there was more than an element of good fortune en route to their 14th UEFA Champions League crown last season.

Throughout the knockout stages of that competition, they were peppered not once, or twice, but four times on their way to glory. Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool all teed off on Los Blancos but that sense of destiny remained throughout and was enough to take them all the way. 

But there can be no denying that in the last five years, you would be hard-pressed to find two more consistent teams than Liverpool and Manchester City. Ever since Mohammed Salah inspired Liverpool to halt Pep Guardiola’s centurions’ push for a historic treble, the rivalry has been at the forefront of English football. 

Anfield Liverpool

Prior to the 2-2 draw at the Etihad last term, the hosts that day had amassed some 438 Premier League points to the Merseysiders’ 412. That’s 2.41 points per game for the former and 2.26 for the latter. To put that dominance into context, Manchester United were the next on the list with an average of just 1.86 points. To summarise, in recent years we have been witnessing history. 

How will two new-look teams shape up? 

Jurgen Klopp’s side will look very different to the side that Pep Guardiola has become accustomed to facing. Two-thirds of that feared attacking trident has now been replaced, with Luis Diaz expected to replace the outgoing Sadio Mane, and £70m man Darwin Nunez starting through the middle ahead of Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino, who has been pushed further down the Anfield pecking order. Beloved Bobby may not even be in the north-west by the time the Community Shield is played, with Juventus recently reported to have tabled a bid for the Brazilian striker, and it remains to be seen whether the new additions will be an upgrade on the greatest strikeforce the club has ever seen. 

But there have also been new additions in Manchester, none more so than superstar striker Erling Haaland, who arrives from Borussia Dortmund after scoring 86 goals in 89 games in Germany. Pundits have suggested that the Blues have been crying out for a striker since Sergio Aguero’s powers started to wain, and there are no better out-and-out strikers on the planet today than the Norwegian goal machine. 

As well as that monster addition, England international Kalvin Phillips has arrived from Leeds United for £45m, and the deep-lying playmaker should prove to be a great fit in the centre of midfield for the reigning Premier League Champions.

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