For Europe’s elite clubs, there are trophies that everyone agrees matter. Then there are trophies that mostly matter if you win them. Then, somewhat further down the line, there is the Community Shield, a nice prize if you win it and less than an afterthought if you don’t.
Known as the Charity Shield until 2002 when the UK’s Charity Commission ruled it didn’t meet the most basic legal obligations of a charity—such as failing to make public how much actually went to any charity—it’s both the traditional curtain raiser for the English football calendar and a game that’s often treated as pre-season warm-up.
This year, it also takes place the same weekend as the Women’s Euro final that is set to be contested between Germany and England from Wembley on Sunday, forcing the Shield to be moved from London to Leicester.
“It’s a very important game but we still have to prepare for the season,” was Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp’s response when asked about how he’s preparing his side to face Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. “So we cannot ignore that or that we played last night against Salzburg.
“We trained the day before twice, so pretty intense, and that’s what we have to do. I cannot ignore the fact that after this important game is a season coming up. So we have to extend our pre-season, if you want, into the season. We play on Saturday against City and we play on Sunday a pre-season game against Strasbourg.”
Liverpool’s approach to their mid-week friendly against RB Salzburg, with most of Klopp’s presumed first choice eleven only given 30 second half minutes, suggests those players will in turn get the start against City and play most if not all of the match.
Then, the players who didn’t start—likely most of the same ones who did start against Salzburg—will get their chance to play most of the match against Strasbourg on Sunday afternoon from Anfield before attention turns to Fulham and the start of the Premier League season.
“We try to do the right things but, of course, the schedule is always a challenge to deal with and that’s how it is,” Klopp added. “It will be a challenge just to play 90 minutes so we will see, but if you win it then it’s a very important competition. If you lose it maybe it becomes less important.”