Liverpool take on Manchester City this afternoon at Wembley Stadium in the Community Shield to kick off the domestic season. The Reds are aiming for their 16th Community Shield trophy and first since 2006 when they defeated Chelsea, 2-1, courtesy of goals from John Arne Riise and Peter Crouch.
Speculation has swirled around Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI for the Community Shield. Despite the match being perceived as a preseason exhibition, Klopp will want to get a leg up on Liverpool’s rival.
Despite playing against Lyon in their last preseason match last Wednesday, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Alisson Becker, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Naby Keita have been training with the Reds for less than a week.
In addition, Sadio Mane won’t return to training at Melwood until Monday. With his playing squad limited, who will Klopp select for Liverpool’s starting XI?
Liverpool Reds FC Blog’s view
The Reds looked their strongest in preseason against Lyon and it just so happened their best squad on the pitch was the one that ended the fixture. Regulars such as Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Georginio Wijnaldum, Andrew Robertson, Virgil van Dijk, and Joel Matip were all on the pitch to close out the game.
But does that mean they will start against Manchester City? Yes.
Klopp, the players, club, and supporters want to win this fixture as it will, in some way, exercise the demons of losing out on the Premier League last term to Manchester City. That may sound silly to some, but the momentum winning the Community Shield can generate is immense.
So, who will be in Liverpool’s starting XI? We predict:
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Andrew Robertson
Midfield: Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Georgino Wijnaldum
Forwards: Mohamed Salah, Divock Origi, Harry Wilson
No Joe Gomez?
A lot of praise was heaped on Joe Gomez during preseason. However, he looked off the pace against Lyon early on and let attackers get goal-side of him. With Nathaniel Clyne out with an injury, I expect Gomez to be on the bench as cover for the centre-back or right-back positions.
What about Roberto Firmino?
Firmino scored against Lyon last week, but Klopp would take a big gamble starting both Salah and Firmino with both only back recently. It makes more sense for him to begin with one on the pitch and the other ready to come off the bench. Firmino should see action in the second half.
Big day for Harry Wilson
The Community Shield will dictate one of two things in terms of Harry Wilson. He will either impress and be kept for the season as a player that can challenge for a starting position or he will garner a large enough transfer fee for Liverpool to sell him.
Personally, I hope for the former as Wilson has a lot of potential and can play a major part in Liverpool’s season.