In the anime, Sakura first sees Syaoran in a dream. In the manga, Syaoran's first entrance is in Volume 2, at the end of Part 2 in the Flowery Card scene, after the sports match. From the roof he observes below him though binoculars, seeing Sakura and the others. He has a whole page dedicated to him and he's in his Chinese battle outfit, with his cool lasin board. His eyes are shaded and looks dark and mysterious as he thinks "it's a Clow Card."
In Part 3, the teacher announces that there is a new student. Syaoran steps in, and a fierce looking boy enters. From the first moment, his eyes meet Sakura's with a forceful glare. Sakura twitches and sweat-drops. (Some one says 'he's cute!') Syaoran continue his cool, calm glare and Sakura is all confused, with question marks. To make things worse (or better,) his seat is right behind Sakura. All the way to the desk, he glares at her. All through the class, Sakura is like "why? Why? WHY?" Coolly, he taps Sakura's shoulder at break, and Sakura freaks out. They go outside and Syaoran uses his lasin board, then forcefully, he demands "GIVE IT TO ME!" Meaning the Clow Cards. Sakura answers she can't because Kero-chan assigned the job to her. And Kero is not in his regular form because she doesn't have the "Firy," or "Earthy." Dryly, Syaoran comments, "You haven't found anything yet." Poor Sakura is crushed.
He then asks her how long she has been looking for it, and she replies 9 months. Then he says, "For 9 months you only found that many cards?" Roughly, Syaoran tries to take the Cards by force. (Bad boy, Sakura was really suffering.) Then, big brother Touya to the rescue! He picks up Syaoran by his lapel, asking what he's doing with his little sister. Defiantly, Syaoran displays his martial arts skill, kicking Touya's arm in the air. (WOW!!) They get into a fighting position, but Yuktio to the rescue! (With meat buns.) Syaoran blushes, then runs off. (his trade-mark from now on.) Yup, more like fierce rivals, than couples in the beginning....
In part 5, Sakura is trying to fight off Rika, controlled by the Sword Card. As Rika tries to slash the Sword down at Sakura, a broad sword blocks. Syaoran blocked with his sword in front of Sakura, to protect her. (That's more like it!) Then, he blandly says with a "I'm suprior to thee" expression "You're terribly weak, aren't you." As he tries to attack Rika, Sakura clings onto his arm, shouting "No! Rika's my friend!" Syaoran looks surprized... They then slip off the wall and fall, Sakura on top of Syaoran, through branches. Yup, and with a determined expression, Sakura handles things very well on her own. (unlike some female heroines.) Meanly, Syaoran says, "With only that kind of power, you can't collect all the Clow Cards." Sakura looks back with extremely sad and hurt eyes. When Kero-chan defends Sakura, Syaoran has a puzzled, hilarious expression, poking him and calling Kero a stuffed animal. Kero bites Li's finger. Yukito comes and he observes Li's hurt finger... who obviously runs off. Later on, when Touya is trying to pick off a leaf from Yukito's shoulder, Syaoran throws out burning ward papers... ha ha...Touya and Syaoran glare at each other... Sakura gives Yukito a birthday present. Quickly, Syaoran presents something too... And Tomoyo comments Syaoran has become Sakura's rival for Clow Cards and for love...
Oh dear... if CCS was any other manga, we would think that Sakura is pondering over who to love, the kind, gentle Yukito, or the flashy, dashing, rival/ Syaoran. But no. This is CCS. Sakura is aghast to think that she has a rival for her beloved Yukito. But compare. Syaoran is a better pick for her.