The famous fixture which gets the English season underway and once again Liverpool will be competing to win it. This time as Premier League winners rather than runners up. Klopp’s men will be up against last seasons FA cup winners Arsenal at an empty Wembley stadium as fans are still yet to be given the all clear to return to stadiums.
Liverpool have had two pre-season friendlies so far against German side Stuttgart and Austrian Champions Red Bull Salzburg. They beat Stuttgart easily 3-0 then struggled against Salzburg with youngster Rhian Brewster bailing the rest of his teammates out by bagging a brace in the second half ensuring the game ended 2-2. In both games two elevens were used each half so every player could attempt to get their fitness up ready for the game against Arsenal.
It will be likely that Klopp will be using his strongest eleven however he has said that this game hasn’t came at the best of times due to a lack of preparation in the press conference for the game, agreeing with Mikel Arteta. He has stated that he ‘will be surprised if this is the best game we play’ but as always Klopp has reiterated ‘we are ready to fight.’
In terms of team news, the senior players that haven’t participated so far in pre-season will likely not be available. The names Klopp mentioned were Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Shaqiri they will all unfortunately miss out.. Virgil Van Dijk will be fine to play after going off injured against Salzburg.
Another key player that hasn’t played in pre-season is Trent Alexander-Arnold but Klopp wasn’t defiant in his answer about him playing saying ‘we will have to make a decision.’ A name that he confirmed will be involved is Rhian Brewster having scored 3 goals so far in pre-season. The likelihood is that the youngster will come off the bench in the second half.
Gini Wijnaldum will be involved for potentially one of his last games for the club if the rumours are true about Ronald Koeman wanting him at Barcelona for the new campaign, unless the Dutch international leaves on a free at the end of the season. Klopp was asked about the contract situation in his press conference and stated that ‘we don’t talk about it’ and that ‘It’s all good at the moment.’
In last seasons community shield Klopp started with his go to 4-3-3 formation but then altered to a 4-2-3-1 in the second half so it may be something to watch out for yet again as the German will be wanting to make sure as many players as possible get some more minutes into their legs.
A slight advantage for Liverpool could potentially be that they have had more preparation than Arsenal albeit just one game however the slightest of gains always mean so much in football. Arsenal won their only pre-season game so far beating MK Dons 4-1 whilst also making sure every player got some minutes.
Mikel Arteta spoke to the media a day before Klopp did. He was asked about what shape his squad are in for the game and he said that ‘We’ve had two training sessions’ and ‘that this game comes straight in the middle of our mini pre-season.’ So, Arsenal could be a tad rusty however last season only finished around four weeks ago so rustiness may not be a problem.
The team news Arteta revealed was not a lot however he did reveal that Bernd Leno is now fully fit and due to Emiliano Martinez being in quarantine Leno will most likely play his first game since that horrendous injury against Brighton. Martinez may have also played his last game for the club as reportedly Arsenal are willing to cash in on him with Leno still having the number 1 spot even after the Argentine’s impressive form.
Another player who was mentioned in the press conference was new signing William Saliba but Arteta was again reserved when stating whether he would play or not saying ‘I don’t know. We’ll make the decision tomorrow.’ So, Arsenal’s line-up may come as a little surprise for supporters.
The game between these two after the restart was a big surprise as Arsenal came out on top but this time it’s a new season, a new desire to win, a new chance to become heroes so what better way to start it with another medal round your neck.
The new season is upon us.
Written by Elliot Thompson