A look ahead to this weekend’s FA Community Shield as Liverpool take on Manchester City at Wembley Stadium.
On Sunday, goats in the yard stop bleating, seagulls stop pecking at the dirty nappies, and TV’s in the homes of Liverpool and Manchester City fans stay on the same channel.
It’s the FA Community Shield.
It’s an oddball of an event.
On the one hand, there is a group of people (often the supporters of the teams not taking part) that will tell you it’s nothing but a glorified friendly. Then you have the fans of the participating teams, who try to block those thoughts from their mind; otherwise, it spoils the experience.
If you follow the English Premier League (EPL), we’ve been starved of football since May. The FA Community Shield is some much-needed nourishment. It has to mean something, and luckily, one of the managers contesting this year’s event believes the same.
Jürgen Klopp won Germany’s FA Community Shield’s twin – the DFL-Supercup twice, when in charge of Borussia Dortmund in 2013 & 2014. In an exciting twist of fate, Dortmund defeated Bayern Munich on both occasions, with Pep Guardiola as the gaffer.
When the press pointed out to Klopp that there are some in the U.K. who believe the game is nothing but a ‘glorified friendly’, Klopp replied, “Is that how it’s seen in this country? Nobody told me that. If it means nothing. Why don’t we cancel it then?” Before going on to point out that maybe nobody cares when you win, but they all care when you lose.
Liverpool endured an emotional wrecking ball to the balls of an end to the season, losing out to Man City on the last day of the EPL, before beating Spurs 2-0 to win the UEFA Champions League. The bookies make them the 13/5 second-favourites to win the EPL (City are 1/2 odds-on).
The good vibrations would haven’t continued running through the team throughout pre-season. Liverpool is winless in four games losing to Borussia Dortmund (2-3), Sevilla (1-2), and Napoli (0-3) as well as drawing with Sporting Lisbon (2-2).
International duty hasn’t helped Liverpool prepare for the season ahead. Roberto Firmino and Alisson spent most of the summer in their native Brazil taking down the Copa America. Mo Salah competed in the African Nations Cup for Egypt, as did Sadio Mane. The two Brazilians and Salah are back in training, but Mane is yet to return.
Manchester City has continued as they left off (they won 13 EPL games in succession). The Citizens have won three of their four friendlies, scoring 13, and conceding three (although West Ham, Wolves, Kitchee SC and Yokohama F. Marinos, come on).
The FA Community Shield between Liverpool and Manchester City takes place on Sunday 4th August at Wembley Stadium from 15:00. You can catch the game live on BT Sport.
Liverpool has won the title 15-times, Manchester City has won it five times.
Man City 11/10