Manchester United 4-0 Liverpool: Sancho, Fred, Martial & Pellistri Destroy Jurgen Klopp's Men (Pre-Season)
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With new Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag kicking off his tenure at his new side, he was greeted by one of United’s greatest rivals.
The first game of United’s pre-season tour, Liverpool were the opposition on the day, with the FA Cup holders being easily dispatched of.
Fielding a largely inexperienced team, Liverpool started two players yet to make their league debuts. United on the other hand, started with an XI which is likely to largely resemble what we will see on the starting day of the Premier League season against Brighton.
Following reports emerging that Marcus Rashford had requested former United manager Ralf Rangnick play him more on the left side, the Englishman would start on his preferred side. It would be off the left that Rashford had his greatest chance of the first-half, and also where he looked at his best. Following a mistake from the Liverpool defence, Rashford was found in the box yet couldn’t catch the ball quite right, wasting a good chance.
However, despite Rashford enjoying plenty of game time on the left, United’s opener would come from his countryman Jadon Sancho playing off that side. Linking up with Luke Shaw, Sancho would attack the box. After several passes, the ball would fall back to Sancho, who effortlessly picked out the bottom-right corner.
The most noticeable quality demonstrated from the United team was the intensity the team showed when pressing. Constantly piling on the pressure, and forcing a largely young Liverpool side into making mistakes. Whilst at times it may have left the midfield exposed, it also brought about all of United’s best chances. An even more impressive feat when taking into consideration the 27 degree heat both teams were playing in.
Following David De Gea seemingly securing his place as United’s keeper going forward, following the loan departure of Dean Henderson, the Spaniard excelled in the early stages of the first half. Called upon on several occasions, United’s Player’s Player of the Season made several saves early on, and looked the far more comfortable of the two keepers.
Allison’s lack of composure cost him for United’s second. With Anthony Martial bombing into the box, the Frenchman seemed to get clipped, as the ball bobbled back out. Attacking the loose ball, Fred would coolly chip the keeper who was too far off his line.
A real when it rains it pours situation emerged with the two sides coming out of a drinks break, Liverpool made seven changes, but that didn’t stop Martial scoring a third for United. Another mistake from the Liverpool team, but also another mistake as a direct result of United’s excellent pressing.
Martial would attack off the right, bombing into the box, before lifting it over Allison.
Liverpool to their credit would come close to levelling the score shortly after United’s opener, with United’s aggressive pressing catching the Red Devils out. A quick counter-attack from Liverpool left them with a two-man advantage as they reached United’s box. New signing Fabio Carvalho’s strike would hit De Gea’s post, before rattling back into play. With Luis Diaz pouncing, United’s goal was gaping but the Colombian would completely fluff his lines, missing the ball.
After all outfield United players were subbed off, it was an experimental Man United side that started the second 45. Several players were placed in positions usually unfamiliar to them, including Alex Telles coming on as a centre-back. Telles’ position would open up a spot for new signing Tyrell Malacia to get his first outing for his new side.
Following a largely slow start to the second-half, Liverpool would wheel out their A-team. A host of new players arrived on the stroke of the 60th minute, with Mo Salah, Robertson, and new signing Darwin Nunez amongst those subbed on.
With the very best of Liverpool against them, and David De Gea forced off with a minor niggle, United’s youngsters looked largely docile. Content to see out the game, youngsters such as Zidane Iqbal, and Anthony Elanga seemed happy to showcase their star power in limited bursts.
That was until Eric Bailly burst forward from the defence, the captain at the time would spray a pass out to Pellistri, before running the length of the pitch in a supporting role. Pellistri would then pick out Amad, who returned the favour, setting up the Uruguayan for a classy finish to make it four-nil.
Though Bailly’s efforts for the fourth goal may well be what lasts in the memory of those watching, his defensive ability was where he shined. Arguably the best defender on the day, he consistently dealt with the very best of Liverpool’s attack, whilst being part of a makeshift defence.
Only being beaten on one occasion in the second-half, United looked set to concede when a Mo Salah shot rebounded back to the feet of Nunez. Their new striker was however unable to convert his golden chance, lifting the ball over the net.
New boss Ten Hag, will have certainly enjoyed what he saw as United kicked off their pre-season with an ideal start.
Manchester United’s pre-season tour of Australasia will continue on Friday, with a game against Melbourne Victory in Melbourne on Friday. Following that, United will face Premier League opposition in Crystal Palace, and Aston Villa next week.
The club’s pre-season will then end with friendlies against Atletico Madrid, and Rayo Vallecano at the end of the month.
Starting XI: De Gea; Dalot, Lindelof, Varane, Shaw; Fred, McTominay; Rashford, Fernandes, Sancho, Martial.
Subs: Elanga, Malacia, Amad, Telles, Bailly, Wan-Bissaka, Van de Beek, Savage, Iqbal, Pellistri, Heaton, McTominay (Used 2nd Half).
Starting XI: Alisson; Mabaya, Gomez, Phillips, Chambers; Carvalho, Henderson, Morton; Elliot, Firmino, Diaz.
Subs: Matip, Tsimikas, Williams, Jones, Frauendorf, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Milner, Clark, Clarkson, Bajcetic (Used 1st Half) Adrian, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Salah, Thiago, Keita, Konate, Nunez, Alexander-Arnold, Hill (Used 2nd Half).
Featured Image Credit: Getty Images
Topics: Manchester United, Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp, Erik Ten Hag, Football