The Premier League season is just a few weeks away, and we got a slight glimpse of two of England’s heavyweights on Wednesday night in the International Champions Cup.
[ MORE: Mahrez, Sane eager for Man City glory ]
Liverpool topped Manchester City, 2-1, behind a late Sadio Mane penalty kick in second-half stoppage time, and there was a clear difference in the two sides after each manager made adjustments at halftime.
While both sides were without many of their notable players, Jurgen Klopp and the Reds fielded several familiar faces behind their front line, including defensively with Andrew Robertson and Virgil Van Dijk.
Meanwhile, the attention on the City side was drawn towards summer signing Riyad Mahrez, who looks to bring the reigning PL champions yet another threat heading into 2018/19.
Here are three key talking points from the Man City-Liverpool clash:
Klopp has treasures up front in Salah, Mane
Liverpool struggled to break down the City back line for much of the first half, which wasn’t entirely unexpected with many of the team’s reserves up front.
However, the brilliance of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane shone through in the second stanza.
Salah, who didn’t have the World Cup he had hoped for after returning from a shoulder injury, showed no ill effects from a long 2017/18 season at MetLife Stadium.
Just a minute after coming into the match, the Egyptian nodded home a header inside the six-yard box, before nearly scoring another header and striking post from distance on a third effort.
Meanwhile, Mane’s pace and vision continue to make Liverpool one of the biggest PL threats, and his combination play with Salah is something of pure genius.
While it’s unfair to assess Man City on the night due to its lack of many stars being in the team, Liverpool’s front men lived up to their end of the bargain as they prepare to dethrone the Citizens come next May.
Mahrez gives the Citizens another dimension
As if a team that scored 106 goals last season in England’s top flight needed another attacking figure, right?
Pep Guardiola‘s decision to go out and add Riyad Mahrez this summer has given Man City yet another key attacker to throw into his mixing bowl of talent, which already features Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus.
Albeit without much help offensively on Wednesday, Mahrez gave City a glimpse of just how dangerous he can be when linked up with the club’s first team.
The Algeria international found himself in several positions going forward that had Liverpool shaking in its boots, including an early first-half ball into Lukas Nmecha, that was nearly finished.
A glimpse of the title race
It’s difficult to ever take stock in preseason matches, but there’s little doubting the quality in both Man City and Liverpool’s squads heading into August.
While City’s move to acquire Mahrez dominated recent headlines, Liverpool made several great transfers of its own, bringing in Fabinho and Naby Keita to create an even more forceful midfield in 2018 and beyond.
Both clubs possess the best attacks in England, and possibly Europe, making them the heavy favorites to contend for the PL.
The various meetings between the sides last season in PL and Champions League play provided significant enjoyment for onlookers, and it’s hard to imagine this season will be any different.