Last season was dominated by the Premier League tussle between Manchester City and Liverpool, so what better way to open up a new campaign than a Wembley meeting between the pair?
City came out on top domestically last term, pipping the Reds to the title by just one point as well as winning the FA Cup to land ‘The Double’. But the Reds made up for missing out on a first league title for 29 years by claiming their sixth Champions League crown.
So who has the edge between the teams ahead of their Community Shield clash on Sunday? Sportsmail has picked a composite starting XI for the showdown…
Jurgen Klopp (left) and Pep Guardiola will see their teams collide in the Community Shield
It does not take long before you are left scratching your chin, agonising over who you leave out the side.
Alisson Becker was the safe pair of hands Liverpool so desperately needed to take Jurgen Klopp’s side up another level.
But Ederson is more than just an excellent goalkeeper. His distribution to kick off a Manchester City counter attack nearly anywhere on the pitch gets him the nod.
Ederson (above) gets the nod ahead of Alisson owing to his incredible distribution for City
RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold
It can be easy to forget that Alexander-Arnold is still only 20-years-old, yet already he is arguably the best right back in the country.
He might not have the pace and power of Kyle Walker – few do – but he is less error prone and has a crossing delivery that is not matched by many in the top flight.
Another advantage he has over Walker is age. He is only going to get better…
At just 20-years-old Trent Alexander-Arnold is already one of the best full-backs in England
CB: Virgil van Dijk
Remember when the Liverpool defence toured the country masquerading as a slapstick circus act?
Well Van Dijk’s arrival for a world record £75million fee in 2018 has seen the Reds’ back-line go from a laughing stock to the country’s best in 18 months – conceding just 22 goals last term.
Then there is ‘that’ statistic. No opposition player has completed a dribble past the Holland international in his last 64 games. Best in the world?
Virgil van Dijk has emerged as one of the world’s best centre backs since joining Liverpool
CB: Aymeric Laporte
Not one of City’s headline stars but it can be quite easy to underestimate how important he is to Pep Guardiola’s defence.
The City boss described him as the best left-footed centre back in the world – which would be welcome praise to the Frenchman who has somehow not been capped by his country.
There is a good argument to suggest this spot should have been taken by Nicolas Otamendi. But while the Argentine is at the peak of his career, there is a bit more to come from 25-year-old Laporte.
Aymeric Laporte has become established on the left side of Manchester City’s defence
LB: Andy Robertson
Most of the players in this composite XI were high profile headline-grabbing big money moves, but few can match the value for money Robertson has offered.
Robertson joined Liverpool from Hull for just £8m in 2017 and has since gone to become a lethal very attacking left back.
Like his full-back partner in crime Alexander-Arnold, his final ball has been crucial to the Reds’ attack.
Andy Robertson was a bargain for Liverpool at £8m from Hull City and is a regular in the side
Fernandinho’s days in the Manchester City midfield may be nearing an end but until there is someone out there proven to be better at protecting a back-line than him, he gets his place in this composite XI.
City fans will be hoping £60m summer signing Rodri is the future in his role.
Liverpool have a good option in Fabinho but there are not many better defensive screens in the game than Fernandinho – even at 34 years old.
Fernandinho will see his midfield appearances limited but remains the best defensive screen
CM: Kevin de Bruyne
After a stunning 2017-18 campaign, where he was a strong contender for Player of the Year, De Bruyne endured a relatively frustrating season last term due to ligament injuries.
But he remains a key player for the Premier League champions and is set to once again be their key attacking focal point and the source for many opposition defensive headaches.
He has looked like a man possessed in pre-season.
Despite an injury hit 2018-19, Kevin de Bruyne remains one of Manchester City’s key players
CM: David Silva
David Silva completes a clean sweep of Manchester City midfielders – and that’s not to slight the likes of Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson or James Milner who have been crucial to Liverpool’s recent upturn in fortunes.
But Silva’s ability to crowbar open a defence has been proven time and time again as he prepares for his tenth and final season, and that experience will be invaluable in his last year at the Etihad Stadium.
He sees what many others cannot and he will prove a real loss to City when this season draws to a close.
Veteran ace David Silva is about to embark on his tenth and final season at Manchester City
RW: Sadio Mane
Took his game up another level last season – scoring at a rate of just over a goal every other match to become arguably the key man in Liverpool’s deadly attacking trio.
That’s no small feat considering the goal threat of Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.
He even shared the Premier League’s golden boot with the latter as well as Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Sadio Mane emerged as arguably Liverpool’s best forward option during the 2018-19 season
CF: Sergio Aguero
The stats say it all. There is no striker who can regularly find a Premier League net as well as Sergio Aguero has over the last few years.
In the past five Premier League campaigns he has hit the 20-goal mark – a feat only matched by Thierry Henry.
With a proven capable goal scorer like that, how can you leave City’s greatest ever goalscorer out this side?
Sergio Aguero (left) has been one of the most consistent goal scorers in the Premier League
LW: Raheem Sterling
No place for Salah? Leaving him out of the XI was the hardest exclusion from this team, but someone had to be cut and given the development of Sterling under the management of Pep Guardiola it was not going to be him.
Not only can he attack a defence with a jinking run or provide a key pass, he now has a deadly eye for goal.
His 25 goals last term were the most he has ever produced in a single season and at 24-years-old he could still get better…
Raheem Sterling has seen his game come on leaps and bounds under manager Guardiola