• Liverpool face Arsenal on Saturday afternoon in the Community Shield at Wembley Stadium
  • Inaugural Premier League champions face 13-time FA Cup winners in North London
  • Gunners have won trophy three times in last six years; Reds not since 2006
WEMBLEY STADIUM, LONDON – Liverpool and Arsenal meet for the Community Shield on Saturday at Wembley, in the traditional curtain-raiser to the new Premier League season.

 






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Season curtain-raiser

With just a fortnight until the 2020/21 Premier League campaign begins, Saturday sees the traditional curtain-raiser to the new season as Liverpool clash with Arsenal at Wembley Stadium for the FA Community Shield.

As both Premier League and FA Cup winners meet for the first time this season, bragging rights could become an even greater psychological foot-up this season, as the new campaign approaches only six weeks after the 2019/20 term concluded.

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Now just a fortnight from opening weekend, Saturday’s game represents perhaps far greater significance, not least with a dose of UEFA Nations League action to come in the next ten days – before the season begins.

Liverpool will be assumed favourites to add their latest piece of silverware to their haul over the past two years, but with the Gunners having won the Community Shield three times in the past six years, little can be taken for granted.

 

Rusty Reds?

Not least after the Reds were held to a 2-2 draw by Red Bull Salzburg in midweek, in the club’s final game of a curtailed pre-season tour of Austria.

Going behind to two Patson Daka strikes, all three of Jurgen Klopp‘s front trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino drew blanks, leaving substitute Rhian Brewster to notch a brace to prevent a rare defeat.

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Whilst that has given Klopp food for thought in terms of team selection both this weekend and looking further ahead, Liverpool will need to have eroded the same rustiness that existed in their academic run-in, in lifting their first league crown in 30 years.

After romping to the Premier League crown last season, the Merseysiders are faced with a daunting task in retaining their title, such have their rivals around them strengthened in the close season.

This weekend’s clash with the side that beat them in their last encounter then, provides the Reds with the opportunity to make a statement but equally to confound the doubters that Liverpool’s league win was just a one-off.

Klopp’s men however, have not won the showpiece curtain-raiser since 2006.

 

Gunners look for momentum

Conversely, Arsenal are looking to continue their upward momentum, after beating Chelsea 2-1 in the Emirates FA Cup final under the Wembley arch earlier this month.

The short trip across their native North London for the Gunners has become an enjoyable pilgrimage for the Gunners of late and the case in no different in Saturday’s final, having lifting the trophy here in 2014, 2015 and 2017.

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Mikel Arteta has his side now seeking further momentum ahead of the new season, and after recruiting Gabriel Magalhaes to combine with William Saliba in defence this term, Arsenal will see Saturday’s meeting with Liverpool as the perfect springboard for the new term.

Still yet to pen Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to a new long-term deal, Saturday gives Arteta another chance to prove Arsenal’s silverware credentials once more to their talisman, whilst also putting a dent in the side that last term were that far ahead of them in the Premier League pecking order.

Impressively, the Gunners have won at Wembley in the last five out of six games, with the League Cup final defeat to Manchester City in 2018 as the only blot on their recent record.

 

Gunners’ 2002 win

Notwithstanding their successes at Wembley, Arsenal were victors against Liverpool the last time the two sides met for the Community Shield 18 years ago.

The time before that was their dramatic FA Cup final meeting in Cardiff, when Michael Owen‘s late brace stunned Arsene Wenger‘s men in the principality in May 2001.

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Returning to their clash of 15 months later, a solitary goal from Gilberto Silva was enough for the-then league champions to exact a dose of revenge at the Millennium Stadium.

Arsenal have rediscovered their long-lost footballing resolution in recent months and if the Reds were under any impression that Saturday will be another stroll to honours, the Gunners are poised to land the opening blow of the new season.

 

The 2020 FA Community Shield between Liverpool and Arsenal takes place at Wembley Stadium on Saturday afternoon, kick-off 16:30 UK time.

 




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