Liverpool vs Manchester City Preview: 2019-20 season commences at Wembley with Community Shield
(Photo: Getty Images/Shaun Botterill) 

After one of the most thrilling contests for the Premier League title last season, Liverpool will be keen to avenge champions Manchester City by securing the first piece of silverware of the 2019-20 campaign this weekend.

City's impeccable finish to last season, rounded off by their emphatic 6-0 defeat of Watford in the FA Cup final saw them complete a famous domestic treble. 

Liverpool's position in Sunday's curtain-raiser was therefore secured by their second-place finish in the Premier League. However, City's domestic dominance did not stop Liverpool from securing their sixth European crown in Madrid last June.

Contrasting pre-season fortunes

City have enjoyed a fairly serene pre-season, winning three out of their four matches. Key players such as Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sané have impressed, with the former picking up where he left off last term, notching five goals already. New signing Rodri has also slotted seamlessly into manager Pep Guardiola's system.

The Red's form has been slightly more indifferent, with a 3-1 win over Lyon in their last outing hopefully proving a sign of things to come. The form of youngsters Ki-Jana Hoever and Rhian Brewster has been encouraging for Jurgen Klopp's side but they will welcome the return of some of their big hitters this weekend.

Team News

Both sides have this week welcomed back key players from the Copa America and Africa Cup of Nations. Such is the importance of these players that it remains to be seen whether or not they will be risked before both sides opening league fixtures.

As well as the return of Alisson, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, Liverpool have been boosted by Xherdan Shaqiri and Naby Keita's return to full training. The prolific Sadio Mane will not feature as he is not due to report back to Melwood until Monday.

Nicolas Otamendi, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus joined up with their teammates this week and could be in line to feature at Wembley. Raheem Sterling has operated through the middle at times during pre-season and Guardiola may opt for that option again should he deem Aguero and Jesus not ready to line-up from the start. 

Predicted line-ups

Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Origi, Wilson.

Man City: Bravo, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko, Rodri, De Bruyne, David Silva, Bernardo Silva, Sterling, Sané.

Key battle

Liverpool's full-backs were pivotal to much of their success last season but the battle between Trent Alexander-Arnold and winger Leroy Sané could be crucial at Wembley. Alexander Arnold's attacking prowess is undeniable but despite his defence improvements, Sané could pose a real threat to the Reds and their right side. 

Regardless of the cloud hanging over the German's future, Sané has enjoyed a strong pre-season, including a brace in a 6-1 win over Kitchee FC. The match-up is a chance for both Sané to prove his worth to this City squad as well as for Trent to demonstrate he is now one of Europe's premier full-backs.

No risks to be taken 

Jurgen Klopp has spoken of the need to be mindful of his players' condition, telling the Daily Express: "We cannot risk any players. We will have to see who will be able to line-up and who will train and who will play". 

According to the official Manchester City website, Guardiola will adopt a similar approach: “The physical condition (of the squad) is not the best. We will try to play with players who played minutes in pre-season because they have rhythm and they know the situation.

The guys who came back later maybe will have a few minutes. There are more chances of substitutions."