Liverpool have three battles for their Community Shield team that could be won tonight. The Reds face Manchester City soon.
Liverpool and Manchester City will face off in the Community Shield on July 30th. It promises to be a fantastic way for the two title favourites to start their respective seasons by competing for a bit of silverware.
One team will take an early psychological advantage into the campaign and while it may not prove decisive, these two teams run one another so close that they’ll take everything they can. But first, Jurgen Klopp needs to pick a team.
That’s no easy task with the squad at his disposal. We see three key battles for a place remaining – and they could be sorted tonight against RB Leizpig. There is one more friendly before the event, of course, as Liverpool face Salzburg. That likely comes too close to the Community Shield for Klopp to play his first-team, however.
It’s tonight, then, that players can earn their spot.
Liverpool to pick their Community Shield team
Ibrahima Konaté vs Joel Matip
This isn’t just a battle for the game at the King Power Stadium – it’s one that will continue all season. Joe Gomez’s pre-season injury essentially rules him out as a starter, leaving Konaté and Matip to compete for a spot. Virgil van Dijk is a lock, of course.
Matip remains one of the world’s best centre-backs but he’s in a natural decline. Konaté, on the other hand, will only get better as a 23-year-old who already performs to an elite level. We imagine Klopp will go with the Frenchman as he did in the FA Cup semi-final.
But Matip still has time to earn a place.
Roberto Firmino vs Darwin Nunez
Diogo Jota is out of the game, meaning Klopp has a choice of two players for the centre-forward role. Does he go for his trusted no.9 who knows the game inside out? Or does he throw in the new forward to add unpredictability? The latter is something we know the boss wants this season.
This one might depend on how patient Liverpool are feeling with Nunez. The Uruguayan may demand it, honestly, and that could see Firmino remain as the go-to to start the season.
Naby Keita vs Harvey Elliott vs Fabio Carvalho vs Curtis Jones
It’s very possible that Klopp goes with Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Thiago as his midfield three. However, he might also fancy putting an attacking midfielder in there – particularly if Nunez starts up top.
And the Reds currently have four players who can fill that role. Keita, Elliott, Carvalho and Jones all carry the ball forward well and link with the forwards. If any of them manage to standout, we think Klopp could throw them into the game – if only to put a bit more pressure on City.
Elliott would be our pick, given how Klopp is talking about him recently. This could be his year.