Stars behind schedule and another two-horse title race among Man City v Liverpool talking points

Press Association Sport 09:36 05/08/2019
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Manchester City retained the Community Shield following a 5-4 penalty shootout win over Liverpool.

Reds defender Joel Matip ensured the match finished 1-1 after 90 minutes following Raheem Sterling’s first-half opener for City.

Here, PA highlights five talking points from Wembley.

Stars behind schedule

Both clubs have had their pre-season plans disrupted by players being involved in either the Africa Cup of Nations or Copa America. Jurgen Klopp used Sunday’s match to give key attackers Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino 90 and 78 minutes respectively, with Sadio Mane set to return to training on Monday.

City boss Pep Guardiola, still without Riyad Mahrez and Fernandinho, opted to start Nicolas Otamendi and bring Gabriel Jesus off the bench as he too attempts to get his squad up to full speed, but Sergio Aguero remained an unused substitute.

Setback for Sane?

Sane lasted barely 10 minutes.

Sane lasted barely 10 minutes.

There has been plenty of speculation about the future of City forward Leroy Sane, with constant talk of him moving to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. He was selected to start the game and began brightly by rippling the side netting early on.

However, he lasted just 10 minutes before hobbling off with an injury. Talks over a new City contract appear to have halted and it remains to be seen how severe the 23-year-old’s problem is and whether it has any impact on any potential transfer.

Gomez given the nod

After missing a large chunk of last season with a broken leg, Liverpool’s Joe Gomez looks to have reclaimed the centre-back slot alongside Virgil Van Dijk going into the new campaign.

Matip made that position his own in the second half of the 2018/19 campaign, including playing a significant role in the club’s Champions League success.

But, with just five days until the top-flight opener against Norwich, England international Gomez was the preferred choice, before he switched to right-back when goalscorer Matip replaced Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Unspectacular start for City’s record signing

Rodri was the only new signing on show.

Rodri was the only new signing on show.

It has been a fairly quiet summer for both clubs in the transfer market, with European champions Liverpool the sole Premier League club yet to make a senior signing.

Spain international Rodri was the only new man on display on Sunday. The £62.8million record signing anchored City’s midfield in the absence of Fernandinho.

He produced a reasonably accomplished display but was, perhaps, a little bit tentative in possession and reluctant to pass forward. The 23-year-old almost gifted Liverpool a late winner when he was caught dawdling on the ball deep into City territory.

Another tight title race?

A single point separated the two clubs during last season’s dramatic title race. On this evidence, it looks tantalisingly poised for another memorable battle between the Premier League’s two standout teams.

Liverpool came back strongly in the second half to take it to penalties after City enjoyed the better of the opening 45 minutes. Salah was culpable of missing a number of good chances, while the Reds also twice rattled the woodwork before eventually finding a leveller.

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Man City ratings as Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva shine against Liverpool

Press Association Sport 09:19 05/08/2019
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Manchester City edged out last season’s title rivals Liverpool 5-4 on penalties to open the new domestic campaign with victory in the Community Shield.

The two teams were separated by just one point in the Premier League last term and it took a shootout to split them in the season opener at Wembley as it was 1-1 after 90 minutes.

Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo made the decisive intervention, saving Liverpool’s second penalty from Georginio Wijnaldum.

City had led for most of normal time after former Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling scored against his old club for the first time in the 12th minute.

Champions League winners Liverpool responded well and went close several times before substitute Joel Matip levelled 13 minutes from time.

MANCHESTER CITY

Claudio Bravo: Had one first-half save of note to make from Firmino. Did his utmost to prevent Salah from scoring on several occasions. 7

Kyle Walker: Had Origi well covered and when he did not had the pace to recover. Added-time goalline clearance prevented certain Salah goal. 7

John Stones: Steady performance from the centre-back, although found the going tougher when pressed in the second half. 6

Nicolas Otamendi: Found Firmino’s movement and touch tricky to handle. Did not look comfortable. 5

Oleksandr Zinchenko: Given a serious test by Salah and not one he looked entirely capable of dealing with. 5

Rodrigo: Held things together on his first experience of English football. Made some good tackles. 6

Kevin De Bruyne: Found his passing range early on and seemed to have more space than most in a crowded midfield. Could not quite find the killer pass to finish off Liverpool. 7

David Silva: Usual tidy work with the ball but probably not at his penetrative, influential best. 6

Bernardo Silva: Lively outlet down the right, keeping the usually marauding Robertson in his place. Appears to have carried over last season’s form matched by his incredible work-rate. 7

Raheem Sterling: Impressive opening. In the right place to score opening goal and was even more threatening when moved to his more familiar wide left role. Wasted a brilliant one-on-one in second half. 7

Leroy Sane: Shot into the side-netting when he should have hit the target. Knee injury forced substitution after just 13 minutes. 4

Substitutes

Gabriel Jesus (for Sane, 13): Lacked the early threat Sterling posed in the central role. Looked off the pace having only rejoined training this week. 4

Ilkay Gundogan (for David Silva, 60): Introduced at a time when the tide was turning and found it difficult to gain a foothold. 5

Phil Foden (for De Bruyne, 89): No time to make a difference. 4

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Pep Guardiola insists Man City could not afford Harry Maguire

Press Association Sport 08:47 05/08/2019
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Pep Guardiola says Manchester City could not afford Harry Maguire and believes the defender can help rivals Manchester United mount a Premier League title challenge.

England international Maguire is on the verge of moving to Old Trafford from Leicester for a fee in the region of £80million.

United finished 32 points adrift of champions City last season but Guardiola expects Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to close the gap and be one of “many, many contenders” this term.

“Maguire is an excellent, top-class player,” said the City boss after beating Liverpool on penalties to lift the Community Shield.

“We were interested but we could not afford it. United afforded it.

“He’s an excellent player, he made an incredible World Cup (in 2018), he’s strong in the air, good with the ball in the build-up and he’s so fast.

Maguire

“Congratulations for United for this signing.

“I don’t know if it will be like last season, two real contenders – Liverpool and us – to win the Premier League.

“I think United with Maguire and the other players they bought, Arsenal as well, and Chelsea, and Tottenham that they won all the pre-season so I think there will be many, many contenders this time.”

Having pipped Liverpool to top spot last season by a single point, City secured a 5-4 shootout success over Jurgen Klopp’s men on Sunday.

Claudio Bravo’s save from Georginio Wijnaldum proved decisive at Wembley after Joel Matip’s second-half header cancelled out Raheem Sterling’s opener in a 1-1 draw.

Guardiola admits there remains little between the two teams.

“They are a top-class team and the difference is one point ahead and one penalty ahead, that is the difference. It’s minor,” he said.

“Sometimes the coin can come on your side, sometimes it cannot so that is why it’s good to face them to see how well prepared we have to be to try to win the title.”

European champions Liverpool arguably had the better of the chances in London and struck the frame of the goal twice before equalising.

Despite the result, Reds boss Klopp felt his side’s attacking intent bodes well for the upcoming campaign, which starts at home to newly-promoted Norwich on Friday.

“Football-wise, the second half was just really, really good, the best way you can play against City,” said the German.

“They are in the early stages as well, they will be in a different shape in a couple of weeks, for sure.

“But having this amount of chances we had is a very good sign for us, absolutely.”

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