Manchester City v Liverpool - The FA Community Shield
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'Hand on heart': Gary Neville assesses whether Liverpool or Man City have actually improved this summer

Gary Neville assesses both Liverpool and Man City but can’t say the same about the two of them. They may not have improved.

It’s actually fairly strange that Liverpool and Manchester City each took the same path this summer. The two teams were incredible last season, dominating English football once again. Only Real Madrid kept them from competing in the Champions League final, in fact.

They did so without recognised no.9s – both Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola leaned into converted wingers and attacking midfielders as False 9s. Despite their success, though, both moved away from that gameplan this summer.

Darwin Nunez and Erling Haaland joined Liverpool and City respectively. Now the two teams boast traditional, physical strikers – the complete opposite of last term.

But has that improved them? Gary Neville doesn’t think anyone can be sure. City, however, are more likely to have remained strong.

Gary Neville assesses Liverpool and Man City

“On paper, if you’re making your prediction now, I think City have got stronger,” he told the Overlap. “I don’t think you could say hand on heart that Liverpool have got stronger because [Sadio] Mané is unbelievable.

“I don’t think you can say that Liverpool are going to be weaker but you can definitely say that City are going to be the equal of last season, if not better.”

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We think this is a fair take. Liverpool could end up being better than City but it’ll rely on them not feeling the absence of Mané and Haaland not taking City to new heights. Both are very possible, of course.

But it’s hard to see how City could actually go backwards on last year. They’ve lost Raheem Sterling, certainly, but he wasn’t as vital to them as Mané was to Liverpool. They’ll likely remain as they were at the very least.

Liverpool could really feel that absence, though. It largely depends on Nunez hitting the ground running and Luis Diaz improving further. If both happen, the Reds could very well be the team to beat this season.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

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