Manchester City have won the Community Shield for a sixth time and are the first side to retain the trophy since Arsenal in August 2015.

They played out to a 1-1 draw with resilient rivals Liverpool and could only overcome the Merseyside club 5-4 in a penalty shootout.

The rivalry between both sides made the Premier League a joy to watch last season. As far back as January, it was already evident one of both teams were going to be champions come May.

The tactical manner in which both sides approached the game, which still counts as a friendly, showed that both clubs are ready to let down on last season’s performances and we can expect another fierce challenge from the pair once again.

If anything, they look more determined than ever to shatter records and set new benchmarks, both driven on by the presence of the other to be the very best versions of themselves, even in a friendly.

The intensity and energy levels shown by players from both sides in the course of the 90 minutes were evident enough to send a stern message to other clubs, particularly the so-called remainder of the “top six” group. If performances could talk, then the message they passed on was simply “catch us if you can”.

Here are some key points to note in what could potentially set the foundation for yet another entertaining season.

Hunger From The Players

Mohamed Salah was once on again a menace on the pitch, making dangerous runs through the pocket of spaces. He was constantly speeding around the attacking third, shrugging off markers and showing fast feet to get 10 shots away; two hit the post, one was cleared off the line. It’s interesting to note that the Egyptian’s shots alone was more than the City squad managed in total.

If normal protocols are even to go by, Salah should still be easing into the side slowly as he only returned five days ago from his AFCON duties.

Mohamed Salah’s 60 touches was more than any of City’s forward players could achieve.

It was also evident even up to the 93rd minute as well. The Egypt international looked certain to have won the match for Liverpool with a header, only for a scissor kick from Kyle Walker on the goal line to avert danger just before it could go in. Those acrobatics at that stage of the encounter — a friendly, remember — underlined City’s ruthlessness and refusal to lose a game.

The Coaches Were Not Left Out

The most intense element of the showdown didn’t even happen on the pitch, but in the technical area of the Premier League champions.

Pep Guardiola paced throughout the match in frustration, furiously pointing out spaces his side weren’t exploiting to his liking. He put his hands over his head and over his eyes in disbelief at missed chances or misplaced passes, even leaning against the advertising hoardings in annoyance after an indecisive Raheem Sterling dithered, with only Alisson to beat, and failed to make it 2-0.

The City boss was so worked up that he even created a comical red-card situation when David Silva and Joe Gomez challenged for a high ball and the Liverpool defender got to it first. Guardiola fumed to the fourth official, suggesting that the England international had gone in on his player dangerously and with force. His continued protestations earned him a yellow card. All this expression of passion, in a friendly.

It’s been 1,253 days since the last and only time these teams have previously met at Wembley, and the upgrade for both since City won the 2016 League Cup; also on penalties — has been staggering. They are now, by quite some distance, the supreme powers of English football.

Both managers were quick to voice out their opinions in what could shape up to be a breath-taking season.

“We know which team we will face [as Premier League contenders],” Guardiola said postmatch. “They are the champions of Europe, so I give a lot of credit to the players for the way we played in the first half.

“At this level the difference is nothing: one penalty, one point. It was good to face them to show the guys how well prepared we have to be to win the title.”

Klopp also echoed this desire after the match.

“We will try everything to win more trophies this season, and I thought what the boys showed today, they looked pretty hungry,” he said. “Both teams wanted to win it today. My team is not satisfied.”

With that in mind, the favourites already seem to have emerged once again and it’ll be interesting to see if any of them will win the Premier League come May. Expectations are high on both clubs and it’ll honestly come as a surprise to the football world if none of these teams are crowned champions eventually.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the City-Liverpool show. It’s going to be a long interesting ride.



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