Joao Cancelo cited Pep Guardiola as a key factor in his decision to join Manchester City, where he is ready to battle with Kyle Walker for the right-back slot.

Portugal international Cancelo completed his switch to the Premier League champions on Wednesday, with Danilo moving in the other direction to Juventus as part of the deal.

Guardiola has made his use of full-backs an integral part of his tactics at the Etihad Stadium and Cancelo is relishing getting to work with the fourth club he will represent in as many seasons.

"Obviously, Pep Guardiola was a big reason for me to join Manchester City. I've always admired him and the way his teams play since he started at Barcelona," he told a news conference.

"It's not by chance that Manchester City have won the last two Premier Leagues and all the domestic trophies in England last season.

"I love his style of play, his character – he's very detail-orientated. That's why I'm here today."

Including the valuation of Danilo, City's deal for Cancelo tallied up to around €60million, although such a hefty price tag does not weigh heavily for the 25-year-old.

Nor does the prospect of challenging for a starting spot against Walker, the England international who signed a new five-year contract in June and starred in Sunday's Community Shield triumph over Liverpool with a magnificent goal-line clearance.

"It's a high price for a right-back but the responsibility is good for me as it will push me to be a better player and to mature to be a better player than I was when I joined," he said.

"I'm aware how Kyle is one of the best full-backs. But I always love challenges, bringing myself to the limit.

"I'm going to compete with him and I'll try to get my place. It will be up to the manager to choose one or the other, but I promise I will try to work hard and compete as best as I can.

"As a player I like new challenges; I was aware of the competition I would find here. Walker is a great player but the more competition you have the better you become as a player. 

"I have a dream to be the best in my position and the only way to do that is by challenging yourself. Only by playing with the best can you do that."

Someone Cancelo places in that bracket is Bernardo Silva, his international team-mate and former Benfica academy colleague with whom he is now reunited in Manchester.

"I've talked with Bernardo Siva several times before and he's said this is an amazing place to be," Cancelo added.

“Bernardo is a great player. We have a great relationship. For me, he is one of the best players in the world. It's a pleasure to play with him.

"The style of play of Manchester City is very good. I feel it is an ideal place for me to develop."

Joao Cancelo's move to Manchester City marks Pep Guardiola's latest upgrade to a position that has become pivotal to his all-conquering tactical approach.

Dani Alves and Eric Abidal starred in Guardiola's celebrated Barcelona side but he truly began to experiment and innovate with full-backs during his time at Bayern Munich.

In order to offset the counter-attacking threat of Bundesliga opponents, he began to deploy Philipp Lahm and David Alaba "tucked-in" alongside their defensive midfielder – a tactic that also aided the control of possession Guardiola so greatly craves. A source close to the Catalan tactician told Omnisport the internal positioning of full-backs is probably his biggest innovation.

Upon his arrival at City in 2016, the Bayern approach was briefly used. However, an aging group of fine club servants – Pablo Zabaleta, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna and Aleksandar Kolarov – were not up to the job, to varying degrees. As his team found their feet on the way to a third-placed Premier League finish in 2016-17, Fernandinho was even selected in both full-back positions.

In Guardiola's overhaul that close season, a transfer window that proved key to City's subsequent domestic dominance, the majority of a £221.5million outlay went on full-backs.

There have also been some less-likely solutions found and challenges remain at City in a defensive role the 48-year-old has revolutionised.

Kyle Walker

A weighty £50m acquisition from Tottenham, Walker has proved his worth as first choice throughout City's back-to-back Premier League title triumphs. The pace and athleticism that became his calling card and White Hart Lane were to the fore in an astonishing goal-line clearance during Sunday's Community Shield encounter against Liverpool, but the 29-year-old has proved himself to be a more adaptable performer than many considered.

Walker offers Guardiola in-game flexibility by being able to operate on the right of a back three – a role he also filled throughout England's run to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup. Having penned a five-year contract extension last month, it is possible his future could lie at centre-back.

Benjamin Mendy

Social media comedian and an instant cult-hero for City supporters, a succession of debilitating knee injuries mean the laughs have dried up for Mendy. When fit and firing, the £51.75m signing from Monaco offers a dynamic attacking option from deep and would help to shift the focus of City's attacks down the left if Leroy Sane joins Bayern Munich. At this stage, however, reaching and maintaining full fitness must be the France international's sole focus.

Danilo

Heading in the other direction to Turin as a makeweight in the Cancelo deal, Danilo has rarely let City down when called upon. He enjoyed a brief period as first choice midway through last season when Walker's form waned at right-back but has largely been a victim of the England man becoming one of Guardiola's most trusted performers. Two seasons in Manchester yielded four Premier League goals, five major trophies and a Brazil recall for Russia 2018. Following a torrid time at Real Madrid, the 28-year-old's career is once again moving in the right direction as he begins a new chapter in Turin.

Fabian Delph

Mendy's injury woes forced Guardiola to be creative at left-back and Delph was his most unlikely success story of 2017-18. A career midfielder, he allowed Guardiola to revisit his Bayern template and started 21 league games in City's 100-point season. Form and fitness deserted Delph last time around and the emergence of another unlikely deputy paved the way for his departure to Everton.

Oleksandr Zinchenko

An attacking midfielder by trade and a signing largely expected to be loaned out before being sold at a profit. However, Zinchenko never read that script and seemingly begins 2019-20 as Guardiola's first-choice left-back. Occasional shaky outings in 2017-18 did nothing to suggest such progress but his recovery from a goal-causing error to assist Sergio Aguero in a 3-1 win at Southampton last December proved a turning point.

He was superb as City won the first part of their domestic treble against Chelsea in the EFL Cup final, although Sunday's more torrid outing at Wembley when faced with Mohamed Salah showed the transition from stand-in to specialist can be tough - as Delph would attest.

Angelino

Briefly assessed as an option amid Guardiola's full-back shortfall of 2016, Angelino was loaned to Girona, Mallorca and NAC Breda before joining PSV. An impressive 2018-19 in Eindhoven saw City trigger a buy-back clause for their former academy product, with Guardiola deciding specialist cover at left-back is a must as Mendy continues his latest rehabilitation. Some accident-prone moments in pre-season suggested the 22-year-old has work to do, though.

Joao Cancelo

A technically assured player who attacks with the verve to be expected from a converted winger, Cancelo's skills appear to make him something close to the archetypal Guardiola full-back. His capacity for causing damage in the opposition half makes him a candidate to supply the threat Mendy has fleetingly provided on the opposite flank. Cancelo accounting for that natural width could in turn allow Gabriel Jesus to be fielded on the right of a front three, where he excelled during Brazil's triumphant Copa America campaign.

Talking of Brazilians, Cancelo has cited Alves as a key influence on his playing style. Having been frustrated when his former charge picked Paris Saint-Germain over City in 2017, Guardiola can content himself with having the latest model for his next innovations at full-back. 

Manchester City have completed the signing of Portugal international full-back Joao Cancelo from Juventus in a deal that sees Danilo move in the opposite direction.

Cancelo, 25, has signed a six-year contract at the Etihad Stadium after just a single season at Juve.

After spending the 2017-18 season on loan at Inter from Valencia, Juve made a move and brought Cancelo to Turin for €40.4million.

He enjoyed a fine season as the Old Lady won the Serie A title, producing a number of high-quality performances on the right flank, with his dribbling and driving runs into the attacking third catching the eye.

"City are a fantastic club, with a brilliant manager and I am delighted to be here," Cancelo told City's website. "Everything about them has impressed me, from the facilities, to their style of play.

"I am always looking to develop my game and win trophies and I believe I can do that here, so now I'm really looking forward to the new season and testing myself in the Premier League."

City had been linked with a move for him for much of the transfer window, apparently having had an offer rejected earlier in the close season.

New Juve coach Maurizio Sarri was said to have approved the sale of Cancelo even before he took over from Massimiliano Allegri in June.

Cancelo will compete with Kyle Walker for the right-back spot, unless the latter is used in a central role, while he can also offer cover on the left.

Danilo, meanwhile, moves in the other direction, having only featured 34 times in the Premier League during his two seasons at the English club. Juventus revealed the total deal was worth €65m (£60m), having paid €37m (£34.1m) to bring in the Brazilian defender.

Juventus have completed the signing of Danilo from Manchester City, the full-back moving to Turin as part of the deal that sees Joao Cancelo join the Premier League champions.

Brazil defender Danilo has signed a five-year contract with the Serie A giants after completing a medical on Wednesday following his arrival in Turin a day earlier.

Cancelo – who signed from Valencia for a reported €40.4million in 2018 – has gone in the opposition direction, with Juve paying City €37m (£34.1m) for Danilo in a transfer worth €65m (£60m) in total.

City reportedly spent £26.5m to bring Danilo in from Real Madrid in 2017, though he played only 34 times in the Premier League across his two seasons in England.

The 28-year-old becomes the latest addition for Juve in a busy close season.

They have also recruited Aaron Ramsey, Luca Pellegrini, Adrien Rabiot, Gianluigi Buffon, Merih Demiral, Matthijs de Ligt and Cristian Romero, who has returned to Genoa on loan.

 

@2DaniLuiz's first words as a Juventus player pic.twitter.com/AQKlPD78nH

— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) August 7, 2019

Robert Lewandowski believes signing Leroy Sane would still leave Bayern Munich needing another two new additions in attack.

The Bundesliga champions have until September 2 to reinforce their squad following the departures of Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and James Rodriguez, the latter having returned to Real Madrid after a two-season loan spell.

Teenager Jann-Fiete Arp is the only forward to arrive at Allianz Arena since the end of last season.

Manchester City winger and long-time target Sane would tick one box but star striker Lewandowski advised Bayern against narrowing their focus in the transfer market.

"I think we need three new players," Lewandowski told Sport Bild.

"Even if Sane comes, we need another winger. Maybe also a number six or attacking midfielder.

"We lost three players in attack with Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and James and so far we have not made a new signing there."

Bayern boss Niko Kovac apologised to City counterpart Pep Guardiola last week after publicly stating he was confident of signing Sane.

The Germany international is contracted until June 2021 but the Premier League champions have been frustrated in their attempts to extend his deal.

Bayern have also been linked to Real Madrid outcast Gareth Bale and Ajax winger Hakim Ziyech.

Danilo's move from Manchester City to Juventus is edging closer to completion after the full-back arrived for his medical with the Serie A giants.

The 28-year-old is set to join Juve as part of a deal to take Portugal defender Joao Cancelo to City, with the Old Lady also reportedly receiving £25.7m (€28m).

Having arrived in Turin on Tuesday, Juve's eighth signing of the transfer window was sent to the club's medical facility for checks the next day.

Former Real Madrid man Danilo signed for City in 2017 and went onto make 34 Premier League appearances for Pep Guardiola's side, scoring four goals.

City are also expected to announce Cancelo's signing on Wednesday, with Guardiola set to secure a player his side have been linked with throughout the close season.

Jurgen Klopp's complaint over the Premier League start date is sure to infiltrate the season opener when Liverpool entertain Norwich City on Friday.

A combination of Copa America and Africa Cup of Nations commitments robbed Klopp of several stars for much of pre-season, leading the Reds boss to call for the English football calendar to be pushed back.

As the minutes tick down to that first whistle at Anfield, managers will be monitoring the condition of their players and making calls on fitness.

Do those in charge of globe-trotting squads have reason to fear sluggish starts, or can players push past heavy legs to set the league alight in the early weeks?

To consider the question, we have mined the Opta data to assess how three high-profile stars fared at the outset of the two seasons either side of last year's World Cup.

 

No concern over Kane

Harry Kane recently told reporters he feels as sharp as he has "for a long while" after a rare, relaxing off-season, which some view as the gateway to a fast start for the Tottenham striker.

Yet even in the aftermath of last year's long and emotionally exhausting run to the semi-finals in Russia, the England captain seemed to have no trouble getting right back up to speed for Spurs.

Kane scored five times over the course of the opening seven games last season, second only to a player he faced in the third-place play-off at the World Cup: Eden Hazard.

The haul was one fewer than he managed in the same period in 2017-18, which followed a tournament-free off-season.

Fitness did become an issue for Kane as a long 2018-19 campaign wore on and his workload for club and country warrants close inspection, but a longer holiday did little to boost his numbers at the beginning of the season.

Of course, not every player returned from the World Cup in the same psychological state as the tournament's Golden Boot winner.

De Gea better for the break?

David de Gea was simply not himself last season.

Confidence sapped by a poor World Cup, the Spain star dipped well below his usually impeccable standards back at Old Trafford and might have lost the number one shirt had Sergio Romero not suffered ill-timed injuries.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ultimately kept faith with Manchester United's first-choice keeper and can reasonably expect a rejuvenated De Gea to make the kind of solid start to the season he enjoyed in 2017-18.

Then, the former Atletico Madrid man posted a league-high save percentage of 88.2 through to the end of September.

Fast forward 12 months and, with international matters perhaps still on his mind, De Gea did not rank in the top 10 for that statistic across the same period.

Poorer save percentages plagued other Premier League goalkeepers in the immediate aftermath of attending the World Cup.

Manchester City's Ederson, Mat Ryan of Brighton and Hove Albion and Leicester City mainstay Kasper Schmeichel all failed to meet their respective averages after travelling to Russia.

The latter, like De Gea, failed to claw his way into the Premier League's top 10 over the first seven games last term.

Silva sets elite standard

As other players endure peaks and troughs, David Silva simply gets on with sustaining a level of excellence even in his advancing years.

The experienced midfielder started in Manchester City's triumph over Liverpool in the Community Shield last weekend and deserves a good deal of attention when the champions travel to London Stadium on Saturday.

Silva started the 2017-18 season in sublime style, registering a league-high six assists in the space of seven games and creating 23 chances in total – only team-mate Kevin De Bruyne (24) managed more.

He went on to win the title, attended the World Cup, and eased back into the Premier League by creating 20 chances before the end of September last season, more than any other player. All without real time to pause.

Could the 33-year-old help City set the pace yet again? West Ham would be safe to assume so: Silva has scored in four of his past five matches against them in all competitions.

Manchester City right-back Danilo has arrived in Turin as the Premier League champions look set to complete a deal with Juventus for Joao Cancelo.

It has been reported City will have to pay £25.7million (€28m) for Portugal defender Cancelo, as well as sending Danilo to the Serie A champions.

Amid claims Cancelo had touched down in Manchester for a medical, Juve posted a clip on their Twitter page of Danilo stepping off a plane in Italy and posing for pictures.

City spent a reported £26.5m to sign Danilo from Real Madrid in 2017, the Brazil international playing 34 times in the Premier League across two seasons.

Cancelo cost Juve €40.4m in 2018 and made 25 Serie A appearances.

After breaking the world-record fee for a defender, Manchester United do not appear to be done just yet.

With Harry Maguire joining Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James at Old Trafford, a London-based Dane could make the move to Manchester.

It could also lead to an in-demand Portuguese midfielder swapping Sporting CP for Tottenham.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED MAKE LAST-DITCH ERIKSEN MOVE

Manchester United are hoping to sign Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen before Thursday's deadline, according to the Daily Mail.

Eriksen is reluctant to renew his contract – which expires in 2020 – with Tottenham and United are looking to lure the Denmark international to Manchester prior to the transfer window closing.

If Eriksen, who has also been linked to Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Juventus, leaves Tottenham then he could be replaced with Sporting CP captain Bruno Fernandes.

Portugal international Fernandes has long been tipped to join United.

 

ROUND-UP

- InfoSport+ says Paris Saint-Germain have made a €60million offer for Juventus attacker Paulo Dybala. Dybala was linked to Manchester United as part of a swap deal involving Romelu Lukaku but that move has seemingly ended over reported wage demands.

- Staying with the same theme and Corriere dello Sport reports that D-Day is approaching. Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri is pushing Dybala to leave Turin, as the Argentina international weighs up offers from Manchester United and PSG. Lukaku, meanwhile, is said to have already reached an agreement with the Serie A champions.

Bayern Munich are set to sign Manchester City's Leroy Sane, claims France Football. The Germany international will reportedly return to his homeland in a club-record €113m (£104.4m) transfer on a five-year contract.

Inter are considering signing Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal on loan, according to FcInterNews. Vidal worked under Antonio Conte at Juventus and they could be reunited in Milan as Barca look to lighten their midfield following the arrival of Frenkie de Jong.

- Widespread reports in Italy claim a deal involving Joao Cancelo and Danilo is done. Manchester City will reportedly send Danilo and €28m to Juventus in exchange for Portugal full-back Cancelo.

- According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Premier League side Wolves are ready to offer €30m for Juventus defender Daniele Rugani. The 25-year-old has also been linked to Arsenal following the arrivals of Matthijs de Ligt and Merih Demiral.

Everton have put together a £100m transfer package to sign Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha. According to The Sun, Everton will offer £65m plus striker Cenk Tosun and midfielder James McCarthy.

- Widespread reports in the United Kingdom claim Wayne Rooney is close to joining Championship outfit Derby County as a player-coach. Former Manchester United and England captain Rooney has two seasons remaining on his contract with MLS team DC United.

Kevin De Bruyne believes Manchester City new boy Rodri is the "perfect fit" for Pep Guardiola's defending Premier League champions.

Spain international Rodri became City's record signing when he joined from Atletico Madrid for £62.8million in July.

He made his competitive debut as City retained the Community Shield with a penalty shoot-out triumph over Liverpool at Wembley on Saturday, turning in an assured display.

Guardiola has been searching for a long-term heir to Fernandinho to operate at the base of his midfield for some time, with interest in Fred, Jorginho and Frenkie de Jong ultimately failing to bear fruit.

But De Bruyne feels Rodri has acclimatised impressively to a pivotal position within City's tactical setup and, at 23, aligns with the broader long-term plan of the club's transfer policy.

"He's a perfect fit for us. I think the way that we did transfers the last years add up," he said, with Guardiola's men now preparing for the start of their Premier League title defence at West Ham on Saturday.

"You see a lot of young talent coming in willing to play our style. I think that's what they're looking for and he's a perfect fit for us."

At Wembley, Rodri attempted more passes than any of his City team-mates, with 62 at a 91.9 per cent completion rate, and was level with defensive duo Nicolas Otamendi and Oleksandr Zinchenko for the most touches (74).

At almost 6ft 3ins, the former Villarreal man is an obvious asset to a largely diminutive side Guardiola famously claimed has to "go to the church to pray" when they concede a set piece.

He won all of his aerial duels against Liverpool and gained possession nine times – again the highest figure in that metric.

"I think he's the perfect DM [defensive midfielder] for the way we want to play," De Bruyne continued.

"Our DM is a really difficult position. You need certain players for it and there's not a lot of people who can do both sides of it.

"Obviously we're very good on the ball. You can't just be defensive, you have to be offensive also."

Working well in tandem with Rodri, De Bruyne turned in an all-action display as City were the better side in the first-half, taking a 12th-minute lead through Raheem Sterling.

It was enough for the Belgium international to be named man of the match and, although he credited Rodri's influence, he also cited operating somewhere close to full fitness being a factor, after two medial knee ligament injuries limited his impact during his club's treble-winning season.

"It wouldn't be different with Fernandinho there," he added. "It's maybe a difference with last year because I'm feeling physically better than I did last year. I needed more time.

"I think the way he's performed in pre-season and in training has been phenomenal. To be the new guy and still be on this level is a good sign."

Manchester United's bid to improve their backline has seen them make Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka two of the world's most-expensive defenders.

England defender Maguire has joined from Leicester City for a reported £80million, surpassing the record set by Liverpool's capture of Virgil van Dijk.

Earlier in this transfer window United spent £50m to acquire right-back Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace as they commenced a substantial rebuild of their squad.

Maguire has not cost United as much as their biggest signing Paul Pogba, who joined from Juventus in 2016 in a then-world record £89.3m deal, but he is the most expensive defender of all time.

Here, we profile the men at the back who have cost a fair whack.


HARRY MAGUIRE – Leicester City to Manchester United, £80m

The reported £80m fee is a serious outlay for a player who was playing for Hull City in the Championship three years ago.

It has been a rapid rise for Maguire, who is now first choice at the back for England alongside Manchester City defender John Stones. United will hope there is even more to come from the 26-year-old.

VIRGIL VAN DIJK – Southampton to Liverpool, £75m

Liverpool tried unsuccessfully to buy Van Dijk in June 2017 and were accused of tapping him up by Southampton, but the defender's absence from several matchday squads thereafter meant a departure was never far away.

The Reds gave their fans a late Christmas gift in December of the same year, confirming the Netherlands international's arrival and he has looked worth every penny since making the switch to Anfield, winning the Professional Footballers' Association Players' Player of the Year last term and helping the club clinch their sixth Champions League title.

LUCAS HERNANDEZ – Atletico Madrid to Bayern Munich, £68m

Having featured as France's first-choice left-back in their triumphant 2018 World Cup campaign, it did not take long for other clubs to begin being linked with Hernandez. Bayern were reported to have things tied up with the defender by the end of the year, though it was said they were trying to avoid paying his full release clause.

As it happened, Atletico received the €80m required to trigger Lucas' exit at the end of the 2018-19 season, meaning Bayern secured themselves a player who can cover two positions for the next decade. 

MATTHIJS DE LIGT – Ajax to Juventus, £67.5m

United had been strongly linked with De Ligt earlier in the window but it was Juventus who won the race for his much-coveted signature for a fee that, with add-ons, could eventually rise to a sum similar to Van Dijk's price.

Despite still being a teenager, De Ligt's leadership qualities shone through when he was captain of the Ajax team that won a domestic double and reached the Champions League semi-finals last season.

AYMERIC LAPORTE – Athletic Bilbao to Manchester City, £57m

City had been put off by the fee Southampton wanted for Van Dijk but were more willing to part with what was - in January 2018 - a club-record £57m to sign left-sided French centre-back Laporte.

Though he curiously remains without a senior cap for Les Bleus, Laporte has become a key figure under Pep Guardiola and was City's best defender in 2018-19 as they won an unprecedented domestic treble.

BENJAMIN MENDY – Monaco to Manchester City, £51.75m

City broke the record for a defender when they signed Mendy from Monaco in July 2017, the left-back having quickly established himself as one of Europe's most exciting attacking full-backs as his side won the 2016-17 Ligue 1 title and reached that season's Champions League semi-finals.

His arrival was part of a spectacular overhaul of the City backline, which saw them spend close to £165m on three defenders and goalkeeper Ederson, but two serious knee injuries have badly hindered his time in Manchester so far. 

DAVID LUIZ – Chelsea to Paris Saint-Germain, £50m

Paris Saint-Germain paid a whopping fee to sign Brazil international David Luiz from Chelsea in 2014.

He won Ligue 1 in both of his seasons at the Parc des Princes and made it three top-flight titles in a row after he surprisingly returned to Chelsea for £34m in August 2016, claiming his first Premier League winners' medal.

KYLE WALKER – Tottenham to Manchester City, £50m

When Walker joined Spurs from hometown club Sheffield United for £5m in 2009, few would have guessed he would one day become the most expensive English player in history.

Walker, who in June signed a new long-term deal at the Etihad Stadium, quickly established himself as a key component at the back following his July 2017 arrival and he has won two Premier League titles, two EFL Cups and an FA Cup.

AARON WAN-BISSAKA – Crystal Palace to Manchester United, £50m

Walker now has company as his country's most costly player following fellow right-back Wan-Bissaka's arrival on the other side of Manchester.

Wan-Bissaka fits the mould for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who wants young players to spearhead a revival at Old Trafford, and he made 129 tackles last term, more than any other defender across the top five European leagues.

JOHN STONES – Everton to Manchester City, £47.5m

City have certainly shown a willingness to pay large amounts for English talent, with Stones joining the club from Everton in 2016.

The 25-year-old had a difficult first campaign as Guardiola's side under-performed. His displays have since improved considerably, although he largely spent the final weeks of last season among the substitutes. 

(*Prices are as reported at the time of transfers being completed.)

Andy Robertson felt Manchester City could not handle Liverpool despite edging Sunday's Community Shield with a penalty shoot-out win at Wembley.

Claudio Bravo's save from Georginio Wijnaldum's spot-kick proved the difference as Premier League champions City netted all five of their attempts from 12 yards – Gabriel Jesus beating Brazil team-mate Alisson to seal victory.

Raheem Sterling opened the scoring against his former club to give City a deserved early lead but Jurgen Klopp's side were transformed after the break, with Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah hitting crossbar and post respectively before substitute Joel Matip headed in a 77th-minute equaliser.

Bravo then saved from Naby Keita and Salah before the Egypt star was denied by a remarkable airborne clearance from City full-back Kyle Walker.

"It was just about belief again," Robertson said of the Reds' second-half improvement.

"It was about not thinking you're tired and things like that – breaking through that barrier and putting them under that pressure, which I didn't think we did in the first half.

"We did that in the second half and I don't really think they could deal with us. We were just trying to get the winner."

Walker's clearance evoked memories of John Stones' heroics in similar circumstances as City claimed a pivotal 2-1 win over Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium last season – a result that weighed heavily in the final reckoning of a title race decided by a solitary point.

"It didn't quite fall to us. That's football and I said to Kyle Walker after, I still don't know how he's cleared that off the line," Scotland international Robertson said.

"He's an incredible player, an incredible athlete – that's why.

"We just couldn't get the ball over the line and, if we did, we'd have been quite comfortable, I think."

Liverpool have overseen a quiet transfer window, only bringing in teenagers Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliott, but Robertson believes retaining the nucleus of the squad that amassed 97 top-flight points before running out European champions will be key.

The former Hull City man also does not expect City and Liverpool to dart away so far clear of the chasing pack this time around.

"Look, we believe we'll be there or thereabouts again. But I believe the teams that were further behind us last season will be closer," he added, with Liverpool set to open the Premier League season at home to newly promoted Norwich City on Friday.

"I think it will be a lot more competitive but I believe we can compete in this league. We haven't lost anyone, the squad is still the same as it was last season.

"It’s just about us having the same mentality and the same way of playing and same application going into every single game. If it is then we'll see where we are in May."

Manchester City are hopeful Ilkay Gundogan will sign a new deal over the coming weeks to end a lengthy period of uncertainty over the midfielder's future.

Gundogan, who featured as a second-half substitute and scored in Sunday's shoot-out as Manchester City beat Liverpool in the Community Shield on penalties, is out of contract at the end of the 2019-20 campaign.

The Germany international was Pep Guardiola's first signing at City in 2016, although a cruciate knee ligament injury curtailed his debut season at the Etihad Stadium before the turn of the year.

He has since proved a valuable member of the squad that won back-to-back Premier League titles and a domestic treble last term, even if not always a guaranteed starter.

Talks over a contract extension broke down during the second half of last season but Gundogan expressed a willingness to reopen negotiations at the end of City's treble-winning campaign.

Asked if he was thinking of remaining in Manchester after the Community Shield win, he smiled and told reporters: "If you stay patient for another couple of weeks you will know – we will see."

Fresh terms for Gundogan would bring a level of clarity to his City career presently lacking with regards to compatriot Leroy Sane.

Bayern Munich have been linked with a mega-money move for Sane throughout the close season and Guardiola conceded this week that talks over a contract renewal for the 23-year-old had regressed.

"Every situation is different and every situation is individual. Everyone is different and has to take a decision for himself," Gundogan said.

"These kind of decisions sometimes take a little bit of time.

"That's why I already mentioned during last season to stay patient because in the end it's a decision you make for the next few years.

"That's why I was calm and relaxed and I'm still relaxed. It's a comfortable situation for me at the moment."

Sane hobbled down the Wembley tunnel with a knee injury around the time Raheem Sterling gave City a 12th-minute lead against his former club, but the Premier League champions passed up opportunities to extend their advantage and substitute Joel Matip equalised for a much-improved Liverpool during the second half.

Both Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp have decried the lowly status that the English season's traditional curtain raiser has in the eyes of many observers and Gundogan insisted the game he entered with an hour gone certainly did not seem like a warm-up match.

"I never felt it was like a friendly, even last year and in my time in Germany, playing in the Supercup for Dortmund," the 28-year-old added.

"It's not a friendly when there is a trophy included – it’s a competition. When we are part of a competition we are going to try to play our best and try to win it. We won't stop doing that."

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes there are "many contenders" for the Premier League title, including rivals Manchester United.

City will go into the 2019-20 season as favourites to win the league for the third straight year and they edged Liverpool on penalties in the Community Shield on Sunday.

While Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp led their teams clear of the pack last season, Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal in particular have strengthened heading into the new campaign.

Guardiola talked up European champions Liverpool, but said the usual 'Big Six' were in contention – highlighting United's expected signing of England centre-back Harry Maguire from Leicester City.

"I think United with Maguire and the other players they bought, Arsenal as well, Chelsea and Tottenham, they won all of their pre-season so I think there will be many, many contenders this time," he told a news conference on Sunday.

"But I think Liverpool... we were so happy when we realised which team we were going to face for the rest of the season, they are the champions of Europe, that's why I gave a lot of credit to our victory today.

"The way we played, particularly in the first half, and the way we defended, but they are a top-class team. The difference can be one point ahead, one penalty ahead, that is the difference, it's minor.

"Sometimes a call will come on your side, sometimes not, that's why it's good to face them, this is the team we are going to face this season.

"This is how well prepared we have to be until the end to try to win the titles."

Manchester City begin their league campaign at West Ham on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp admitted Liverpool have been "affected" by a tough pre-season after their penalty shoot-out defeat to Manchester City in the Community Shield, but said he was encouraged by the Reds' performance at Wembley.

Liverpool lost three and drew one of their five pre-season friendlies heading into their 1-1 Community Shield draw and subsequent 5-4 shoot-out defeat to City.

The European champions suffered defeats to Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and Napoli, drew with Sporting CP and beat Lyon during a run that left Klopp with mixed feelings ahead of his side's Premier League season opener against Norwich City on Friday.

Reflecting on Liverpool's performance against City, he said: "I thought they looked pretty hungry. That doesn't mean it will work out but we fought today.

"After all the things that were said about the competition, both teams wanted to win it desperately, I saw that.

"My team is not in doubt about being satisfied or whatever, to stop working or stop running. The character of the team is still incredibly good.

"We had a difficult pre-season but the boys did what they had to do and were affected by it. We played football games against really good teams and that didn't feel too good.

"It was very important we all gave ourselves and our supporters a sign of the performance today. Now let's carry on."

Klopp said his squad to face Norwich would be boosted by the return of vice-captain James Milner, who missed the trip to Wembley due to a muscle strain.

Milner, 33, played a vital role in Liverpool's successes last season, making 31 Premier League appearances and 12 in the Champions League.

The versatile midfielder will rejoin the squad in plenty of time to face Norwich, according to Klopp, who said: "It was a minor muscle injury. I would say he can probably train tomorrow, although I am not 100 per cent sure.

"For today it did not work out, but I think by at least Tuesday he can train."

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