Manchester City will be hoping to pick up where they left off last season when they face Liverpool in Sunday’s Community Shield.
The Citizens secured a domestic treble last term, defending their Premier League title while thrashing Watford in the FA Cup final having already beaten Chelsea on penalties to take the Carabao Cup.
The challenge now is to take that forward into 2019-20 and they have the tools for further success.
Pep Guardiola has assembled a superb squad during his time at the Etihad Stadium and has only tinkered this summer, paying a club-record £62.8m to Atletico Madrid for midfielder Rodri.
That is his only major acquisition and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp’s comments that clubs such as City can spend their way to the title has irked the Spanish tactician and added some spice to the Wembley showpiece.
Not that the contest needed it, as the north London showdown is likely to be the forerunner to another domestic battle between the two heavyweights during the next 10 months.
Most of the big-name stars will be on view, although City will be without first-choice goalkeeper Ederson and midfielder Fernandinho on Sunday while Liverpool’s Sadio Mane will also be missing.
The match will pit two of the English game’s top goalscorers together, with Mohamed Salah and Sergio Aguero likely to play a part in proceedings.
Egypt’s Salah shared the Premier League’s Golden Boot with Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mane last term but his tally of 22 goals was 10 down on his debut Anfield campaign.
The African ace will be looking to better that total and netting on his season bow will be the perfect way to get things going.
While the game will have little bearing on the season as whole, both managers will be hoping to start with a win to lay down a marker for events to follow. The phoney pre-season contests are all done and battle is about to recommence, with City 20/43 to win the Premier League and Liverpool on offer at 5/2.
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