MARTIN KEOWN: Community Shield may show whether Liverpool can reboot

MARTIN KEOWN: Community Shield may give insight into whether Liverpool can reboot again next season… but don’t expect a competitive clash after the short break

  • Leeds’ clash against Liverpool in 1974 is one of my Community Shield memories
  • That was a feisty encounter, but don’t expect Saturday’s contest to be similar 
  • We don’t know the state of Arsenal and Liverpool’s players after the short break 

One of my earliest memories of the Community Shield – or Charity Shield as it was known – was in 1974.

It was the first year it was held at Wembley Stadium. I was only eight at the time and First Division champions Leeds United faced FA Cup winners Liverpool.

Johnny Giles punched Kevin Keegan, who then brawled with Billy Bremner. It finished 1-1, with Keegan and Bremner shown reds, then Liverpool won on penalties.

One of my earliest memories of the Community Shield is Liverpool and Leeds’ clash in 1974

But don’t expect Saturday’s showdown between Liverpool and Arsenal to be as competitive

That was a feisty and fierce curtain-raiser to the new season. Don’t expect Saturday’s contest between Arsenal and Liverpool to be quite as competitive as that.

We don’t know the exact state of these players. They’ve barely had a break – Arsenal especially, given it’s four weeks since they took part in an FA Cup final.

Even if there were internationals, Arsene Wenger would always like you to take at least a month between the last time you kicked a ball to the next. But Mikel Arteta hasn’t had that luxury.

We don’t know the condition of the players for either team and they’ve all barely had a break

Plus, Wembley will be empty, with supporters not yet allowed inside stadiums to create an atmosphere. Nevertheless, the Community Shield is a game I love. As a kid, I found it a relief when it came along because it meant the new season was just around the corner. 

This match might give us an insight into Liverpool as they prepare to defend their Premier League title.

Jurgen Klopp’s side lost their edge towards the end of last season. When they came back after the suspension, it was a case of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s in order to become champions.

Jurgen Klopp’s title winners lost their edge towards the end of the last season after the restart

They need to get into their pre-lockdown groove and find their winning rhythm at Wembley

They’ve got to get into that pre-lockdown groove. For those on the outside, it’s a foregone conclusion – they say Liverpool should find their winning rhythm again. But it’s never as easy as that. It’s about getting motivated.

At Arsenal, Wenger used to get a flipchart out. We’d sit down in a team meeting together, agree what our main targets were and discuss how much we wanted it. We’d refocus. That’s what Liverpool must do now. With Klopp in charge, I think they can be successful in doing that, too.

We may be looking at the 2020-21 Premier League champions. First, let’s see what they produce against a team who beat them 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium last month.

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