Community Shield: If This is a Sign of Things to Come, Bring it On!
Liverpool 1-1 (4-5 on pens) Manchester City
Despite what some cynics may suggest, it’s always good if your team is in involved in the Community Shield as it invariably means they have had a successful season immediately before the start of the new one.
Yes, there have been a few exceptions, but largely both clubs involved in the curtain raiser to a new campaign have picked up silverware a few months earlier.
That was the case once again with these two taking a clean sweep on the domestic and European stage, so this was bound to be a more competitive encounter with Community Shield highlights to boot.
It didn’t disappoint.
Highlights of the game
For two sides which score goals aplenty last season, SBOBET fans expected attacking intent and so it proved as they renewed hostilities.
Both managers named strong starting line-ups with Leroy Sane, a target for Bayern Munich, given the nod to lead the line.
City want him to stay but, aside from a shot which hit the side-netting, he didn’t have a chance to show his worth once again at the national stadium as he left the fray early on through injury.
By then, Raheem Sterling had opened the scoring.
David Silva flicked the ball into the centre and Sterling poked the ball past goalkeeper Alisson, despite the Brazilian getting a hand to it.
It was Sterling’s first goal against his former club since he swapped red for sky blue in 2015.
Liverpool should have been level very quickly when Roberto Firmino sidestepped a defender and found Mohamed Salah who dragged his shot narrowly past Claudio Bravo’s post.
Salah then outpaced Oleksandr Zinchenko and drove into the box before dragging a shot into the side-netting.
The contest was becoming end-to-end and, on the half hour,the Egyptian also toe poked the ball narrowly over the bar.
Manchester City's Claudio Bravo saves Liverpool's shots
Into the second half and the pace remained.
Four minutes after the restart, Silva – captain in place of the departed Vincent Kompany - sliced opened the Liverpool defence and Gabriel Jesus, in an offside position, cleverly left it for Sterling whose shot came back off the right-hand post.
Nine minutes later and Virgil van Dijk expertly volleyed a corner which bounced off the underside of the crossbar and onto the line before being kicked clear.
It evoked echoes of the closest of margins which was a major factor in the side’s league meeting at the start of the year.
Sterling nearly made them pay for their misfortune but ran straight into Alisson when clean through before Bravo blocked from Salah.
After being denied twice by the woodwork, it was hard to begrudge Liverpool an equaliser and it arrived when van Dijk lifted Jordan Henderson’s deflected free-kick into the centre and substitute centre back Joel Matip nodded home.
Liverpool finished the stronger and Salah almost won it before a quite incredible clearance.
First, he was denied by Bravo and then headed the rebound towards goal only for Kyle Walker to show great athleticism to leap into the air and acrobatically clear off the line with an overhead-kick.
Even the Community Shield betting odds could never have predicted such late drama surely?!
The contest went to penalties and City triumphed 5-4 to seal their second successive Community Shield.
Now to start a quest for history and a third successive Premier League.
One thing is for sure, based on this showing, both sides will be at the sharp end again.
Sterling has now either scored (six) or assisted (one) seven goals in his last four games for club and country at Wembley.
City have lost just one of 44 games in all competitions in which Zinchenko has featured (won 38, drawn five).
The last time these sides met at Wembley was in the 2016 League Cup Final when City won a penalty shoot-out following a 1-1 draw.
City have won four of their past 13 meetings with Liverpool (drawn two, lost seven) in all competitions.
This was the seventh time in the Premier League era that a double-winning side has faced the Premier League runners-up in the Community Shield. The previous season’s runners-up have won two of the past three (Arsenal v Man Utd in 1999 and Man Utd v Chelsea in 2010).
This was Liverpool’s 22nd appearance in the Community Shield - only Manchester United (31) have played in more - and their first appearance since 2006 when they beat Chelsea 2-1 in Cardiff.
This was their first Community Shield played at Wembley since 1992, when they lost 4-3 against an Eric Cantona inspired Leeds.
Liverpool have won just one of their six games at Wembley Stadium (drawn one, lost four), 2-1 against Spurs in the Premier League last September.
In all competitions, City are unbeaten in their past eight games at Wembley Stadium (won seven, drawn one) since losing to Arsenal in the 2017 FA Cup semi-final. They’ve only conceded two goals in those eight games, while scoring 17.
City boss Pep Guardiola has lost four of his nine meetings with Liverpool in all competitions - against no side has he lost more in his managerial career (also four vs Chelsea and Real Madrid).
Man City launch their title defence next Saturday (Aug 10) at West Ham followed by a first home match of the campaign against Spurs in a repeat of last season’s epic Champions League quarter-final.
For Liverpool, they entertain newly promoted Norwich City in the opening Premier League match of the season before travelling to Southampton a week later.
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This message was edited by SBOBET on 06-Aug-2019 at 1:01 PM