Liverpool ready for ‘intense’ season

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Jurgen Klopp
The new season starts just 34 days after the end of the 2019-20 Premier League campaign
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London Date: 29 August, 2020 Time: 16:30 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live and follow on the BBC Sport website and app, plus watch highlights on MOTD on BBC One from 22:20 BST

Saturday’s Community Shield will kick off “one of the most intense seasons” for Premier League champions Liverpool, says manager Jurgen Klopp.

The traditional Wembley season opener, against FA Cup winners Arsenal, comes just 34 days after the end of the extended league season.

“Would I want to play a proper game after two weeks’ preparation? No,” said Klopp.

“But it’s not a friendly, it’s a proper match against Arsenal.”

Liverpool ended their 30-year wait for a championship last month, finishing a massive 43 points above FA Cup winners Arsenal.

The Gunners have had even less time off – their FA Cup win came just four weeks ago – and Klopp expects both sides to go all out for a win.

“For us, like Arsenal, we prepare for a whole season – one of the most intense, probably, we have ever experienced in our lives because of the amount of games and the time we have for that,” he said.

“It will be intense but nobody is moaning. We are happy we can play at all.

“It’s as perfect as we can be and we will try everything to win the game and Arsenal will do the same.”

This year, the women’s game will also be played at Wembley, with a 12:30 BST kick-off live on BBC One.

It is the first time the Football Association has held back-to-back Community Shield matches and it will be the first time the women’s contest takes place at Wembley.

Centre-back Virgil van Dijk will be fit despite suffering a head injury in Tuesday’s friendly against Salzburg, but right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold may not feature due to a minor injury.

Captain Jordan Henderson, midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and defender Joel Matip all remain sidelined.

Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno is back in training after a knee injury and could start, with defender William Saliba expected to make his debut.

Liverpool’s Wembley wait – the stats

  • Arsenal and Liverpool will meet in the Community Shield final for a fourth time (previously in 1979, 1989 & 2002), with the Merseyside club winning the first two such encounters and the Gunners winning the most recent meeting in 2002 (1-0).
  • Liverpool and Arsenal will meet at Wembley for the first time since the 1989 Community Shield, which Liverpool won 1-0 courtesy of a first-half Peter Beardsley strike.
  • This will be the latest date a Community Shield final has been staged since Bolton Wanderers beat Wolves on 6 October 1958 (4-1).
  • Arsenal have won seven of their last nine Community Shield appearances, including each of the last three in a row.
  • Arsenal ended a 10-game winless run against Liverpool in all competitions, beating them 2-1 at the Emirates in July – the Gunners will be aiming to win back-to-back matches against them for the first time since September 2012.
  • Excluding league games, Liverpool have won just one of their last seven matches at Wembley (D3 L3) and remain winless since a 2-1 victory against Merseyside neighbours Everton in the 2012 FA Cup semi-final (D2 L2 since).
  • Excluding league games, Arsenal have lost just one of their last 12 matches at Wembley (W9 D2), a 3-0 defeat to Man City in the 2018 League Cup final.
  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored a brace in each of his last two appearances at Wembley for Arsenal (vs Man City & Chelsea) – only Alexis Sanchez (5) has scored more goals for the Gunners at Wembley Stadium than the Gabon international (4 – level with Aaron Ramsey).
  • Liverpool’s Sadio Mane made his debut in English football against Arsenal in September 2014 (for Southampton) – since then, he has only scored more goals against Crystal Palace (9) in all competitions than against the Gunners (6).

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