Community Shield: Man City and Liverpool clash on the impact of Haaland and Nunes

Community Shield: Man City and Liverpool clash on the impact of Haaland and Nunes

Manchester City and Liverpool collide today, Saturday, in the “Community Shield” match, which brings together the Premier League and Cup champions annually, on the impact of the early conflict between the newcomers, the Norwegian “Citizens” strikers Erling Halland and “Reds”, the Uruguayan Darwin Nunes.

Attention will be focused on the “King Power Stadium” a week before the start of the new season of the league, and the pressure is great on Halland and Nunes, who are seeking in the coming months to prove the eligibility of contracting them for huge amounts of money.

City and Liverpool put on the negotiating table during the summer transfer market more than 100 million pounds ($121 million) to attract some of the best strikers in the European continent, with the competition intensifying between them in recent years for the leadership of English football.

However, many things have changed in the two clubs, especially since Pep Guardiola’s team won the league title last season at the expense of the Reds by an orphan point, after turning its backlog against Aston Villa in the last stage into a historic victory.

City’s fourth league title in the last five seasons reflected an amazingly stable image of “Citizens”, but Guardiola’s ideal personality and footballing philosophy do not allow him to be satisfied with his glories.

The Community Shield match will reveal the readiness of Liverpool and Manchester City for the new season today (Asharq Al-Awsat)

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach opened the door for many of his cadres to leave. Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus and Ukrainian defender Oleksandr Zinchenko left for Arsenal, while Raheem Sterling joined Chelsea and Fernandinho returned to Atletico Paranaense.

Realizing that City’s success last season was achieved despite their lack of an explicit striker, Guardiola took the step of attracting one of the brightest young stars on the Old Continent, the Norwegian spearhead, Halland, 22, from Borussia Dortmund, for 51 million pounds.

Having failed to snatch international striker Harry Kane from Tottenham’s clutches 12 months ago, Guardiola hopes that Haaland can emulate his prolific scoring form in Dortmund, in the most demanding Premier League.

The young giant’s ability (1.94kg and 88kg) to combine with City’s talent pool will be the key element that will determine the direction of the race for domestic and continental titles.

Indeed, the early signs look promising, as Haaland needed just 12 minutes to open his scoring tally in his new team’s shirt in his first match with City by scoring the winning goal in a friendly match against Bayern Munich.

“As you all know, I’ve been watching a lot of City games over the past years,” Haaland said.

“Over the past years (they) they were missing a striker, so of course I used to see myself in such situations. I’m not surprised. The quality is good.”

City’s ambitions to win titles outside the borders of England, specifically chasing the dream of winning the Champions League after losing in the final two years ago against Chelsea, was reinforced by strengthening its ranks with international midfielder Calvin Phillips from Leeds for 42 million pounds.

City hopes to win the shield for the seventh time in its history, and for the third time in the last five years, after winning the years 1937, 1968, 1972, 2012, 2018 and 2019.

Nunes (AFP)

While City begins the new season as the most prominent candidate to retain its title for the third consecutive season, and whatever the result is at King Power Stadium, Liverpool’s threat to its supremacy is still clear and present.

German coach Jurgen Klopp’s team almost touched football glory after spending the second half of last season in an exciting pursuit of the dream of achieving an unprecedented historic quartet, but it failed in the league and the main continental competition after collecting the Cup and League Cup titles.

In the league, Liverpool fell to City, while Real Madrid beat it 1-0 in the Champions League final. And winning the Cup and the League Cup against the same rival Chelsea, and in the same style in the penalty shootout scenario, was considered a small consolation for Klopp’s ferocious coach.

Liverpool also experienced an exciting chapter of rumors and speculation about the departure of its most prominent stars, led by Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah, and the club finally ended speculation about the future of the best player in the league last year by linking him to a new contract.

In exchange for keeping his Egyptian star, Liverpool failed to do the same with Senegalese Sadio Mane, who decided to leave for Bayern Munich, to receive the club a strong blow, but Klopp filled the void left by the international striker when he initially paid 64 million pounds, as the value of the deal could rise. To a club record £85m, to sign Nunes from Benfica.

The 23-year-old Uruguayan striker started his career with his new club in his preparatory round against the impact of criticism for wasting many easy opportunities in the friendly loss against Manchester United 0-4, before showing his teeth by scoring four of the five victory over Leipzig, to return and fast again for The scoring in Liverpool’s loss against Austrian Salzburg 0-1.

Although winning the Community Shield competition, which Liverpool holds the title 15 times, most recently in 2006, is considered marginal when the hour of crowning important titles strikes at the end of the new season, Klopp is well aware of the psychological importance of any victory over his fiercest rival City.

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