Liverpool take on Manchester City in the traditional season curtain-raiser tomorrow in Leicester.
Jurgen Klopp’s FA Cup winners take on Pep Guardiola’s Premier League Champions as the 2022/23 season gets – kind of – underway.
Klopp has one or two injury issues to worry about, but most of his first eleven are fit and raring to go.
With that in mind, here’s what we think Liverpool’s team for the Community Shield will be.
Liverpool’s primary issue is in goal. Klopp has already confirmed that Alisson Becker won’t be ready for tomorrow. With Caoimhin Kelleher also missing, Adrian is The Reds’ last senior option.
Aside from that, we expect Liverpool to go with a full-strength backline. That means Trent Alexander-Arnold will start at right-back, and Andy Robertson will start on the left.
Virgil Van Dijk is a shoo-in at centre-back, with the only question mark being who partners him there.
Judging from Klopp’s substitutions in the last pre-season game against RB Salzburg, we think the spot will go to Joel Matip.
In midfield, Klopp has all his options available to him. As a result, there’s no reason not to expect to see Fabinho at the base of the midfield.
Thiago Alcantara is the kind of player who can really make a difference in these games and he’ll be there, too.
Just as it often was last season, Klopp still has a decision to make around who to pick as his third midfielder.
That choice remains between Naby Keita and Jordan Henderson. Again judging from Klopp’s Salzburg changes, we should see £20m man Henderson win the battle on this occasion.
Liverpool’s attack now looks completely different to this time last year. Where last year there was Sadio Mane, now there is Luis Diaz. Where there was Diogo Jota there is now Darwin Nunez.
Diaz will surely start, but we think Klopp will choose to hold back on throwing Nunez in at the deep end.
Instead, he’ll turn to the ever-willing Roberto Firmino. Nunez will doubtless be seen at some stage, but there’s no need to thrust him into the spotlight at the King Power.
Finally, what would a Liverpool v Manchester City game be without Mohamed Salah. Guardiola has already spoken about the Egyptian today, and he often relishes these big games.
Come on you reds!
Liverpool’s predicted XI vs Man City: Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago; Salah, Firmino, Diaz