Three key tactical headaches for Guardiola and Klopp as Man City face Liverpool in Community Shield | The Sun

SUNDAY'S Community Shield sees the two best sides in the country last season go head to head.

You can make an argument that Manchester City and Liverpool are not only the two best sides in the country on the pitch but off it as well.

Both clubs moved quickly to add more firepower for this coming season.

City signed the Norwegian international forward Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool took the Uruguayan international striker Darwin Nunez from Benfica.

These signings may represent a change in style for both sides as neither had previously played with a fixed striker leading the line.

This makes this showdown even more intriguing – and it promises to be a spectacular start to the season.

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We have a look at three key tactical talking points ahead of Sunday’s epic clash.

How will Haaland fit at City?

In the end, it almost seemed like a calm and business-like signing from Manchester City as the news leaked that they had won the race to sign Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund.

City benefited from the obsession that Real Madrid had with Kylian Mbappe as they were able to secure the signature of one of the premium forwards in the game at what feels like a bargain price of around £50m.

Yet the signing of Haaland feels like a distinct departure in terms of playing style for City under their coach Pep Guardiola.

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The aggressive movement from Haaland will be an issue for Liverpool, He will look to run behind the defensive line whenever possible and that will force the Liverpool defenders to crash back

The Spaniard is well known for preferring a fluid style of play in the attacking phase with no real fixed striker.

Last season we saw the likes of Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling spend time at the ‘9’ position. 

In this match it will be interesting to see how Haaland is used, we expect him to start the game, and how this affects the Liverpool defence.

A player like Haaland is a difficult prospect to defend against given his sheer size and physical capacity.

He is one of the quickest forwards around with the ability to accelerate and reach top speed very quickly and this means that he is a real threat to break beyond the opposition's defensive line.

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Against teams who want to sit in a deep block, this is somewhat less effective but given that we expect Liverpool to look to play their customary high defensive line we might see space for Haaland to exploit.

Part of what makes Manchester City so dangerous is the ability of their midfielders and fullbacks to make dangerous runs behind the ball to attack space.

With Haaland threatening to run behind the defensive line we will see more space being created for the likes of De Bruyne, Foden and Bernardo Silva to attack into.

In this match there will be an important role for Fabinho, as the ‘6’ at the base of the Liverpool midfield, to cover space and ensure that the threat of these runs is dealt with.

How will the loss of Sadio Mane affect Liverpool?

Over the entire time that Jurgen Klopp has been in charge of Liverpool, the front three in his 4-3-3 system have almost picked themselves.

The partnership of Mohamed Salah on the right, Roberto Firmino through the middle and Sadio Mane on the left was one of the most effective attacks in Europe.

Over the course of last season, we saw Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz introduced to the group as Firmino was phased out slightly. 

At the end of last season though Sadio Mane made his intentions to leave the club clear and he has since completed a move to Bayern Munich.

The match this weekend against Manchester City will give an insight into how Liverpool plan to replace Mane with the Colombian international Luis Diaz likely installed as his permanent replacement.

One of the most fascinating tactical battles of the Community Shield will be the way that the Manchester City attack deals with the new look threat from the Liverpool attack.

There are clear differences between Diaz and Mane in that the latter was a more direct goal-scoring threat who made incisive runs off the ball to break into the penalty area.

Diaz is more of a ball carrier who is dynamic and dangerous when allowed to get the ball and attack the opposition fullback and central defenders.

While Mane would likely have been more of an issue for the central defenders of Manchester City going into this game it is likely that Diaz will threaten the right-back more in the first instance.

This could mean that whoever plays in that role for City, whether it is Kyle Walker or Joao Cancelo, will have to be more restrained in terms of pushing forward to support the attack.

The difficult thing for any side who are defending against Diaz, however, is that with his ball carrying he can go past a player on the outside before driving inside and isolating the central defender inside as well.

How will Liverpool use their central striker?

While Manchester City went out and added firepower, and a more traditional striker profile, in the signing of Erling Haaland we also saw Liverpool do the same thing with the capture of Darwin Nunez to play as the central striker.

Towards the end of last season, we actually saw Sadio Mane play through the middle in the 4-3-3 of Liverpool but he was very much a wide player converted to play as a striker.

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The signing of Nunez feels like a move from Klopp and Liverpool to change the profile of forward players that they have at their disposal.

However, we have also seen a move in pre-season to ensure that Roberto Firmino is given time as the ‘9’ to work on his match fitness.

One of the biggest questions for us going into this match will be which ‘9’ Klopp decides to go for.

Will it be the pace and power of Nunez or the movement and game intelligence of Firmino?

The identity of the player in this position will have a huge effect on how the defensive line of Manchester City behaves in this match.

Darwin Nunez will be an aggressive option who will want to play on the shoulder of the City defenders and look to make darting runs to break beyond the defensive line.

As such City will have to be careful about how they push out and leave space behind them

Whether Klopp opts for Roberto Firmino or Darwin Nunez in attack from the start will have a huge bearing on the way that Manchester City are likely to play and defend in this game.

What does all this mean?

Whether City win or Liverpool win, it won’t mean much more than some short-term bragging rights before the real action gets underway in a week’s time.

We might learn a little about how both managers plan to use their expensive new toys but neither will lose a great deal of sleep if they don’t walk away with the Community Shield at the end of the game.

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That said, you won’t be able to stop the hype if either Haaland or Nunez score a couple and lead their team to victory,

The new Total Football Analysis Magazine will be out on Tuesday, 2 August

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