Quite a bit has changed since Manchester City successfully defended its title at the direct expense of a lurking Liverpool side on a dramatic final day.
The League Champions have secured the services of arguably the finest young striker in the world in Erling Haaland. The Norwegian had always dreamt of playing in Manchester. Kalvin Phillips has also made the step up from Leeds United.
Similarly, too, some players have left Etihad. Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchencko have made moves to the country’s capital: Chelsea and Arsenal the beneficiaries.
On the flip side, the FA Cup Champions have contracted Darwin Nunez from Benefica for quite an enticing fee. Sadio Mane has since joined Bayern Munich, his contract unrenewed.
And so, while it might feel like just another friendly, it really is not. The rivalry will expectedly continue. And even as both teams will look to feel themselves into the new campaign, there will be plenty to draw from this one.
Somehow, too, the new boys will be keen to make a statement and get the confidence of their managers as quickly as possible.
What To Expect
For much of last season, Manchester City and Liverpool were evenly matched. A 2-2 draw in both legs of the Premier League with Jurgen Klopp’s men earning the only win in the FA Cup semi-final.
Even then, one could argue that Pep Guardiola had played down the importance of the tie with some wholesale changes.
The Spanish manager will expectedly continue with his possession-heavy football. However, with the now presence of a conventional forward, there should be some tweaks in how they attack in the final third.
Still, Kevin de Bruyne will be hugely important in creating chances alongside Phil Foden. Rodri’s calming influence in midfield might yet be the catalyst for their performance.
Not much has changed for the Merseyside giants. The core remains even with the addition of a coldly functional striker.
The German boss will be keen to see his side press aggressively from the go. Although, it will be important to see how they fare in the absence of the Senegalese forward. The attack will surely be built around Mohamed Salah.
Virgil van Dijk will get the task of limiting Haaland in defence. And that shapes up to be one of the most anticipated battles.
Once again, this fixture is too close to call. These are the two best teams in England and it will remain so for this encounter. And yet, certainly, both teams will get on the scoresheet.
We are set for an exciting face-off regardless of how it pans out. Cheers to the new season!