As has become customary in England, the new Premier League season start is always foreshadowed by the annual game between the current Premier League winners, in this case Manchester City, and the FA Cup Winners last season, Liverpool, who just so happen to be their great rivals.
And with Wembley out of the reckoning to host the match due to the Women’s Euro 2022 Final taking place on the same weekend, the FA has selected the somewhat unexpected venue of the King Power Stadium in Leicester to host this year’s Community Shield.
Last season, Manchester City faced Leicester at Wembley in the season opener and it was the Foxes that ran out winners on the day, earning a 1-0 victory.
This year, the top two teams in the country will battle it out, with both perhaps evolving on from the teams that have gone head-to-head in three of the last four years, an era which has seen both establish themselves not only as the best two in the Premier League, but amongst the top four teams in Europe too.
Bet365 Sport has plenty of great pre-match betting available on the game for the weekend right now, and you can expect more markets to be made available as we head towards kick off on Saturday evening. Remember too that there will also be extensive In Play betting available on the game once the action kicks off at 5pm.
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Community Shield Preview
Manchester City will be making their fourth appearance in this game in the past five years, while Liverpool will be making their third appearance in the last four years in the famous season opener.
The Reds though have lost their last two Community Shield games on penalties, to Arsenal and Manchester City, while City have won three and lost one of their four most recent appearances in this game.
Liverpool have won the trophy 15 times, 10 outright and 5 shared victories, while City have had six outright wins and no shared victories.
The match kicks off at 5pm UK time on Saturday 30th July at the King Power Stadium in Leicester. ITV will be showing the game live across the UK.
The match official is Craig Pawson and his team.
As is customary for the season opener, in the event of a draw after 90 minutes, no extra time will be played and the game will instead be decided by a penalty shootout.
Both teams are also permitted to use up to six substitutions in the game.
Pre-Season Squad Moves- Manchester City
Both teams have made a small number of significant changes to their squad over the pre-season period, with some old faces moving on to pastures new, and some new faces coming in to replace them.
Moving on from Manchester City are the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko (who both joined Arsenal), Fernandinho (who joined Atletico Paranaense in Brazil on a free) and Raheem Sterling, who was a £50m signing for Chelsea.
Coming in for City of note were Argentinean goalkeeper Stefan Ortega on a Free, and City spent around £50m on both Erling Haaland, the powerful Norwegian striker from Borussia Dortmund and also England’s defensive midfielder lynchpin Kalvin Phillips, who joined from Leeds United.
However, with the money banked from the sales of the players above, plus the sale of some fringe players for smaller fees, City have brought in more money through the transfer market this summer than they have spent by a considerable margin.
As a result, City’s new look first team squad looks like this:
Manchester City Full Squad
Ederson (G)Stefan Ortega (G)
Kyle Walker (DRC)Ruben Dias (DC)John Stones (DC)Nathan Ake (DRC)Joan Cancelo (DL)Aymeric Laporte (DC)
Kalvin Phillips (DMC)Ilkay Gundogan (MC)Jack Grealish (AMC)Rodrigo (DMC)Kevin De Bruyne (AMC)Bernardo Silva (AMLC)Phil Foden (AMRC)Cole Palmer (MC)
Erling Haaland (AC)Julian Alvarez (AC)Riyad Mahrez (AMLC)
Strongest Man City XI – (4-3-3) – Ederson, Walker, Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Rodri, De Bruyne, Silva, Foden, Mahrez, Haaland
Competitiion for places in City’s starting XI is fierce and that means a number of stars such as John Stones, Nathan Ake, Jack Grealish, Kalvin Phillips and Ilkay Gundogan don’t make this team, although given how Pep Guardiola likes to rotate his team, they should all get plenty of time on the field this season.
For the Liverpool game though, Guardiola may elect to push Silva or De Bruyne into a more advanced forward role, drop Foden or Mahrez and bring in Phillips to play alongside Rodri in a more defensive midfield.
Pre-Season Squad Moves – Liverpool
Like Manchester City, this season has been more a case of players moving on from Liverpool, rather than the Reds bringing in a load of new players and that means that the net spend for the Anfield team this season so far has been just £9m.
Their big signing has been Darwin Nunez from Benfica, a tall, powerful striker who will give Liverpool a real presence in central attack and a focal point from which they can build.
With Sadio Mane moving on to Bayern Munich, it looks like Luis Diaz and Mo Salah will be the first choice wide attackers, with the rest of the Liverpool first team likely to remain the same from last season, although the likes of Origi and Minamino have also both moved on.
The Reds also brought in Calvin Ramsey, a young full back from Aberdeen as cover at right back and Fabio Carvalho, an exciting young attacking player from Fulham.
With all those changes, the Reds squad now looks like this:
Liverpool Full Squad
Alisson Becker (G)Caoimhin Kelleher (G)Adrian (G)
Trent Alexander-Arnold (DMR)Andy Robertson (DML)Konstantinos Tsimikas (DL)Joel Matip (DC)Virgil van Dijk (DC)Joe Gomes (DRLC)Ibrahima Konate (DC)Calvin Ramsey (DMR)Nat Phillips (DC)
Fabinho (DMC)James Milner (DMLRC)Jordan Henderson (MC)Thiago (MC)Naby Keita (AMLC)Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (AMRC)Curtis Jones (MC)Harvey Elliott (AMLC)Fabio Carvalho (AMLRC)Tyler Morton (DMC)
Roberto Firmino (AMC)Mo Salah (AMLC)Diogo Jota (AC)Luis Diaz (AMRC)Darwin Nunez (AC)
Strongest Liverpool XI – (4-3-3) – Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Van Dijk, Konate, Thiago, Henderson, Fabinho, Diaz, Salah, Nunez
Liverpool fans probably feel their best team is pretty much the same as last season with no real changes in goal, defence or midfield to speak of, and given their results you can’t really argue with that.
It is in attack where the key change has been made with Sadio Mane moving on and Nunez coming in as a more natural Number 9 striker, allowing Salah and Diaz to operate in the wider areas, with Jota and Firnino both providing great support from the bench.
Expect youngster Harvey Elliott and new signing Fabio Carvalho to also feature prominently this season, while Calvin Ramsey may get game time when Alexander-Arnold needs a break.
Both games in the Premier League between these two teams ended in draws, but in the FA Cup, Liverpool emerged with a 3-2 victory in the semifinal, against a slightly under-strength Manchester City team.
However, the big factor for me in this game is how both teams will adapt to their new number 9s and the team that does that best will probably earn the victory.
That said, I can’t split these teams at the moment, so I feel the winner will likely be decided by penalties, hence I think the draw at 23/10 is the option to back for the Full Time Score bet.