Liverpool will take on their Premier League title rivals Manchester City this afternoon in the Community Shield at the King Power Stadium, and a major boost has been handed to the Reds ahead of that clash.
What’s the latest?
Taking to his pre-match press conference on Friday, City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed that defender Aymeric Laporte will not be available for the match.
The 51-year-old revealed (via Liverpool Echo): “Laporte is injured. He had surgery after the last few games [of last season], he made an incredible effort. He had surgery, he’s doing incredibly well, you have to do careful. It’s his knee, he might be out until September.”
Supporters will be delighted
There is no doubt that Liverpool supporters will be delighted with the news that City will be weakened ahead of the clash this afternoon and potentially going into the beginning of the season, should Laporte not recover in time for the return of the Premier League next week.
A composed presence at the back, the Spain defender posted the Cityzens’ best passing accuracy of anyone who started a league match for them last term (94.7%), while his match average of 1.6 successful aerial duels shows that he also carried out his defensive duties consistently and competently.
The two clubs have been battling it out for domestic supremacy for the last four years and have developed a position-based rivalry, where unfortunately Liverpool have frequently come out worse during the respective reigns of Jurgen Klopp and Guardiola.
However, yet again the Reds will hope to fight until the final day to secure their second Premier League title this season, and the Community Shield is the perfect opportunity for the Merseysiders to get some bragging rights over their fiercest competitors for top spot.
Although it will be a relief that Guardiola’s side won’t be at its full capability today, Liverpool aren’t without their own injury concerns going into the game.
Alisson Becker, Caohimin Kelleher, Diogo Jota, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kostas Tsimikas and summer signing Calvin Ramsey are all unavailable to play in Leicester, but Klopp did offer a silver lining in the absence of Liverpool’s number one.
The German revealed in his own pre-match press conference on Thursday (via Daily Mail): “Alisson trained today more than the day before so he will definitely be available for Fulham but not for the weekend.”
Today’s match will be the perfect opportunity for Klopp to test his squad against the current Premier League champions, and he will be hoping that a victory over the Cityzens would be a sign of things to come when the two sides return to action in the league next week.
Laporte’s absence today might just boost the Reds’ chances of avenging their title near-miss from earlier in the year against City.