Wembley plays host to the annual season curtain-raiser, the Community Shield, on Saturday as Premier League champions Liverpool take on FA Cup winners Arsenal.
It will be the second successive year Jurgen Klopp’s side have contested the Community Shield, having lost a penalty shootout to Manchester City after a 1-1 draw in 2019.
Liverpool and Arsenal have both won the Community Shield 15 times – most recently in 2006 and 2017 respectively – the joint second-most in history after Manchester United, who have lifted it on 21 occasions.
Community Shield | Saturday 29 August | Wembley Stadium | 17:30
To Win (90 mins)
After guiding his beloved club to their 14th FA Cup triumph – and his first as a manager – Mikel Arteta will be determined to win more silverware as he looks to bring the north London side back to its glory days. His mentor, Pep Guardiola, treats every chance to secure silverware seriously and will have presumably instilled the same attitude into his fellow Spaniard.
The Gunners go into the Wembley showpiece as heavy underdogs with their odds of winning the Community Shield at a hefty 38/10, but they shouldn’t be written off so cheaply. Against the odds, they beat Liverpool, Manchester City, and Chelsea in the space of a few weeks.
Despite Dani Ceballos returning back to Real Madrid, Arsenal fans have plenty of reasons to be excited for the new season. The squad looks a lot stronger with the arrivals of Brazilian duo Willian and Gabriel Magalhaes, while Arteta will welcome French wonderkid William Saliba from his loan spell at Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1.
If that isn’t enough to excite Arsenal fans, the north London club are strongly linked with Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid and there’s also interest in Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho and Lyon’s Houssem Aouar, while club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is reportedly on the verge of signing a new deal.
Arsenal were one of three teams to beat Liverpool in their title-winning campaign as they came from behind to win 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium last month. With that victory still fresh in their minds, Arteta’s side will fancy their chances of another impressive victory over the Premier League champions.
With the expected front three of Aubameyang, Willian, and Nicolas Pepe, Arsenal will certainly get goalscoring opportunities.
With the new Premier League season just around the corner, Liverpool fans will be hoping their club’s top performers and star players are ready to hit the ground running as soon as they take to the turf.
The Reds wrapped up the Premier League title with a record seven games remaining and finished the season 18 points ahead of second-placed Manchester City, but Klopp knows his side will face a much tougher fight to retain the trophy.
Liverpool have been relatively quiet in the transfer window so far, with Greek left-back Kostas Tsimikas their only signing. It’s quite clear their main priority is keeping hold of their star players, although they are heavily linked with Thiago Alcantara, with reports claiming the Bayern Munich midfielder has already agreed on personal terms with the Merseysiders.
Liverpool began their preparations for the 2020/21 campaign with a 3-0 friendly win against Stuttgart in Austria last weekend, with Roberto Firmino, Naby Keita and Rhian Brewster on the scoresheet.
The Premier League champions will be hoping to continue where they left off and avenge last month’s defeat against Arsenal. The Reds have a squad packed full of quality with the likes of Alisson, Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, and Sadio Mane who are used to winning on the big stage.
Jordan Henderson, Joel Matip, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all injured and will, therefore, miss the Community Shield, but the squad is otherwise in good shape.
Verdict: Liverpool (13/20)
Liverpool are the best team in England and I’m backing the Premier League champions to edge a hard-fought encounter.
Written by Chad Nagel