Liverpool vs Manchester City: Community Shield Preview and Prediction
The wait for football fans is finally over as the 2019-2020 season is officialy set to kick-start, today. In the first competitive game, Liverpool will lock horns with Manchester City for the Community Shield trophy.
The Community Shield match is always played between the Premier League and FA Cup winner; however, it is going to be different this time. In the last season, both the domestic trophies were won by the Citizens. Hence, the second positioned Premier League side, which is the Reds are going to play in the opposition.
Liverpool are going into this competition with three consecutive defeats against Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla, and Napoli in the pre-season. However, the Reds won their last fixture against Olympique Lyon 3-1 and dropped the curtains on their pre-season tour.
This is going to be 22nd appearance for the Reds in the Community Shield. The last time they played in the same competition was back in 2006 when they defeated Chelsea 2-1 to lift the trophy.
Manchester City, on the other hand, participated in the Community Shield last year, where they defeated Chelsea 2-0. If today, the Citizens defeat Liverpool, then they will be lifting their sixth domestic trophy out of the last seven they played in.
Battles to look out for:
Mohamed Salah vs Oleksandr Zinchenko
This is going to be an interesting battle as the Liverpool talisman will take on the young talented City defender.
Mohamed Salah scored 22 goals and provided eight assists in his 38 Premier League appearances last season. This performance came after many people criticized the Egyptian by saying that he is one season wonder. However, Salah proved them wrong after ending the league as the Golden ball winner for the 2018-19 season.
Oleksandr Zinchenko, on the other hand, made it to the first team after the ruling out of Benjamin Mendy due to injury. The 22-year-old defender didn’t let this opportunity go in vain as he stepped up and helped his side in solidifying defense and win the Premier League title.
The left-back made 2.4 tackles along with 1.4 interceptions per game in his 14 league appearances for Manchester City. Zinchenko didn’t only help his side in defense but also in attack as he provided three assists in the league last season.
Virgil Van Dijk vs Gabriel Jesus
I’m expecting this battle to be one-sided as the former PFA Players’ Player of the Year will take on the recent Copa America winner from Brazil.
Virgil Van Dijk was phenomenal for Liverpool in the last season. The Dutchman is the reason why the Reds came so close to winning the Premier League title and later lifted the Champions League trophy.
The Liverpool defender 1.1 interceptions along with 5.2 clearances per game in his 38 league appearances for Liverpool last season. The Dutchman also scored four goals and provided two assists in the 2018-19 Premier League season.
Gabriel Jesus, on the other hand, was part of the contingent that won the 2019 Copa America. The Brazilian will be stepping into this came with much more confidence. However, it won’t be easy for him to get past Van Dijk, who is in the form of his life.
The Brazilian scored seven goals and provided three assists in his 29 league appearances for City last season. The stats aren’t that great but with such talented midfield and forward company, Jesus is a lethal weapon.
Both the sides will be without many players due to the international football leave. Many of them have returned but few of them are still enjoying their leave away from the game and will return for the Premier League.
The Citizens have been in better form than Liverpool in the pre-season. Also, with the absence of Sadio Mane, the attack of the Reds is looking a bit weak. However, we know that the Jurgen Klopp’s side never gives up and will step in this game with a mentality of winning it.
So, considering everything. I believe that this will be a close encounter, but the Citizens will get better of their opponent, tonight.
Predicted score: Liverpool 1 – 2 Manchester City