Manchester City and Liverpool will kick off the 2019-20 domestic campaign with the Community Shield clash on Sunday.
While the game is widely seen more or less as a glorified friendly, both managers Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp will be looking to make a statement with a win nevertheless.
City appear to have been dealt a potential injury blow ahead of the clash, though, as French centre-back Aymeric Laporte is said to be a doubt for the game after picking up a knock, and that will be a huge boost to Liverpool’s chances of winning.
Goal’s Manchester City correspondent Sam Lee reported the news via his Twitter handle:
Laporte’s a doubt for the Community Shield with – what has been described to me as – a knock. No word on West Ham availability yet, he’s having treatment on it
— Sam Lee (@SamLee) August 1, 2019
The 25-year-old is the first name on City’s team sheet (after Ederson), featuring in 35 Premier League games last term and playing a huge role as the Etihad Stadium outfit secured an unprecedented domestic treble.
Guardiola needs his most trusted defender for such a high-profile clash against the Reds, and the fact that he could even miss the league opener against West Ham United is another cause of worry.
Man. City are definitely not lacking options, as even Fernandinho can be deployed in the position, but with Vincent Kompany gone, they want to sign another centre-back, and Pep won’t be pleased with not having Laporte available for the Community Shield.
Liverpool front trio – Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino – are raring to hit the ground running this season again, and they will fancy their chances against a City defence without the former Athletic Bilbao man.