Believe it or not, the new English football season is just about upon us. This of course means that, as per usual, the FA Community Shield fixture is upon us. The matchup pits the previous year’s league winners, Manchester City, against the previous season’s FA Cup winners, Liverpool.
This season it is a little different with the fixture taking place at the King Power Stadium in Leicester rather than Wembley. That is because the Women’s Euro final is being played at the national stadium, just a couple of days after the Community Shield.
The Women’s Euros has been a fantastic tournament. The English women will look to go one better than the men in the final of that competition.
But that’s not what we’re here to talk about. We are here to talk about the Community Shield and specifically, the Liverpool team news heading into this fixture.
LIVERPOOL TEAM NEWS
The Reds missed out on the title by one point again last season. It was the second time in the Klopp era on Merseyside that had occurred. It was also the second time Pep Guardiola’s men had been the ones to beat them to the EPL title. Liverpool can gain some small modicum of revenge with a victory in the curtain raiser.
If they are to do that, however, they are likely to have to do it with their third-choice goalkeeper between the sticks. Alisson Becker, the club’s first-choice keeper, suffered an abdominal injury against Manchester United in their first pre-season clash in Thailand. The club has not featured him at all this pre-season.
Gaffer Jurgen Klopp said he is “very close” to a return, but I think that return will come in the league and not in the Community Shield.
FA Community Shield FYIs
When is it? Saturday, 30th July, 5 PM UK Time.
Where is it? King Power Stadium, Leicester
What is the Team News? Man City Liverpool
Who’s playing? Liverpool (FA Cup holders) Manchester City (Premier League holders)
What are the odds? Liverpool (+175) Man City (+135) Draw (+245)
Caomihin Kelleher is another goalie who will probably miss the match. Liverpool has not featured Kelleher all pre-season and is a long shot to appear here because of injury.
Diogo Jota and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain remain doubts not only for this fixture but for the start of the season. Both have suffered muscle injuries and are facing extended stints on the sidelines. Liverpool is used to missing Oxlade Chamberlain, but losing Diogo Jota is particularly concerning as the Reds have missed the Portuguese striker’s eye for goal. Particularly as Darwin Nunez is experiencing the usual bedding-in period Klopp signings usual go through.
The backup full-back brigade has question marks over their availability as well. New signing Calvin Ramsay is yet to play for the club. He is yet to even begin full training with the squad. Kostas Tsimikas suffered a knock in training prior to the Reds’ friendly defeat against RB Salzburg and needs to be assessed before getting the tick of approval to play.
STUEY’S TWO CENTS
I am delighted the Premier League is back. And I am delighted to see my beloved Reds back in action so soon. I have some concerns though. Liverpool has looked great at creating chances this pre-season. What they have been missing is someone to finish those chances. Eventually, Darwin Nunez will be the guy to do that, but he is not the guy right now. As Jurgen Klopp said when we signed him, we are not buying the finished article with Darwin Nunez.
From my point of view, the biggest challenge for the Reds this season will be to find someone who can supplement the goals we know Mohamed Salah can provide. Find that missing link and maybe the Reds go one better this season. If they cannot fill the Sadio Mane-shaped void in the goals for column, we might see the Reds slide down the table just a wee bit.
Stuart Kavanagh is a journalist currently residing in Broken Hill, Australia. He writes for the Barrier Truth newspaper, along with being the owner of the sports and entertainment website thepyrrhic.com, He also co-hosts the ‘After Extra Time’ podcast and contributes at edgeofthecrowd.com when time permits.
Football mad, he is always down for debate and discussion at @stueyissickofit on Twitter.Follow paulmbanks