United’s 5th game of the American tour ended in a 3-1 victory against rivals Liverpool. Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard scored the goals for the Red Devils, while Gerrard scored a customary penalty for Liverpool. Wayne Rooney got his first game as captain in the tour, as he looks to seal the captaincy for next season.
Manchester United once again opted for the so far successful 3-5-2 formation, as Louis van Gaal continues to bed in his new tactics.
Judging by the tour, and this game, Ashley Young has to be a certain starter for the first game of the season. He looks to have reinvented himself under the new boss. Tyler Blackett was also very impressive during the tour, looking like a quality prospect direct from the United academy.
You got an understanding of how the whole half would go just from the opening few minutes. Liverpool were massively on top as United failed to deal with their high pressure football, and gave the ball away constantly. The only chance we had was from a delightful ball in by Ashley Young, only to see Hernandez misjudge it and miss the goal by quite a distance. Antonio Valencia limped off after 9 minutes, bringing on Luke Shaw as he continues to gain the fitness Van Gaal desires from him.
Liverpool saw most of the ball after that chance, and on 13 minutes won a debatable penalty after Phil Jones brought down Raheem Sterling. Steven Gerrard converted and they took a deserved lead. United really struggled with Liverpool’s high pressure throughout, constantly knocking long and losing the ball. Darren Fletcher, who was having a decent tour up until now, was misplacing simple passes, and looked pretty woeful. The only real bright spark had to be Ashley Young – who looks a complete new player.
Liverpool started the second half on top again and did almost make it 2-0 after 49 minutes, but it deflected narrowly wide. Then against the run of play, United equalised through Wayne Rooney. Javier Hernandez played a delicious ball in and Rooney smartly slotted home past Mignolet. United were instantly in the game and 2 minutes later, we were in the lead. Luke Shaw found Juan Mata who scored via a deflection to make it 2-1. We did then however make it 3-1 on 65 minutes only to see it rightly disallowed as Rooney finishes after the ball bounced out from behind the goal, confusing everyone.
Liverpool were never in the game since our first goal, and United dominated the play, looking much more threatening and comfortable on the ball. Changing Fletcher and Evans for Cleverley and Blackett helped greatly, as neither had a great game. Then on the 88th minute to wrap the game up, Jesse Lingard made it 3-1 with a wonderful finish, after some delightful play down the right by Cleverley and Young.
It’s fair to say Van Gaal must have said something at half time as the team looked completely different in the second half. It was great to get one over Liverpool, all be it only in pre-season, and it was nice to win the International Champions Cup against the quality opponents we faced. That’s 5 wins from 5 on the tour, scoring 16 goals and conceding just 4. A great start for United under Louis Van Gaal.
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