Our first glance at the landscape of the 2019/20 Premier League season begins this weekend as Liverpool take on Community Shield holders Manchester City.
Although seen as a lesser trophy in certain circles, Pep Guardiola has made clear his stance on the importance of the trophy, citing the stature of equivalent honours in Spain and Germany, in the Spanish and German Super Cups.
Both managers will be hoping, if nothing else, to strike an early blow to their opponent in the preliminary stages of the season.
With that said, we’re expecting drama as the two British heavyweights battle it out for initial bragging rights and our football betting expert previews the Wembley match, and shares the best bets ahead of the match.
Both teams will feel the effects from some of their key men enduring long summers in international competition.
Liverpool who, aside from international duty, finished competitive club action no less than two months ago to the day – three weeks after the regular club season came to a close.
In addition, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah have all been key members in their country’s Africa Cup of Nations/Copa America campaigns.
Mane will not be available on Sunday, with the Senegalese striker currently on a summer break after falling short in the AFCON Final only two weeks ago.
For Manchester City, Sergio Aguero, Ederson, Gabriel Jesus, Nicolas Otamendi and Riyad Mahrez have all been involved in competitive international action themselves, and it’d be naïve to think that the two squads will not be somewhat depleted in energy on Sunday afternoon.
Predictions and Odds
It’s difficult to predict which way this one will go, and whether Jurgen Klopp in particular will pick an inexperienced side, with much of his front line reporting back for pre-season late.
Sergio Aguero scored two in this match last year, and we’re picking the Argentine to break the deadlock on Sunday – you can get him to score the first goal in this match at 4/1.
Though Liverpool will hope they can get the job the done on Sunday, the drive of Pep Guardiola may be too much to compete with given the circumstances in personnel and the pressure he puts his players under to win these types of matches.