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Report: Manchester United 1-4 Liverpool – International Champions Cup

Manchester United were beaten 4-1 by Liverpool in the International Champions Cup in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Liverpool won two penalties in the game, the first scored by Sadio Mane. Andreas Pereira scored the equaliser from an impressive free-kick before Xherdan Shaqiri putting Liverpool ahead in the second half. Another penalty, through Oluwaseyi Ojo, saw United 3-1 down with Shaqiri scoring a spectacular goal to win the game 4-1.

Jose Mourinho made a number of changes to the side which beat AC Milan on penalties with Luke Shaw missing from the starting XI, although he was on the bench. It was a weakened United team against a Liverpool side with a lot of Premier League experience. Mourinho opted for a five at the back formation. Chris Smalling was due to start the match but was replaced by Eric Bailly.

There was a bit of beef in the opening five minutes between Andreas Pereira and James Milner after the Liverpool midfielder made his second foul in the match, previously fouling Alexis Sanchez in the third minute of the match. Pereira stood firm and Scott McTominay got involved too. This may only be a friendly on paper, not in the flesh – neither should it be.

In the eighth minute of the match, Juan Mata was played through on goal, was flagged for offside but chipped the Liverpool goalkeeper anyway. Mohamed Salah, at the other end of the pitch came close to opening the scoring with a header but Lee Grant tipped the ball over the crossbar, giving Liverpool a corner. Liverpool nearly scored from the set-piece but the ball was cleared off the line by Bailly.

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Liverpool were the livelier side in the early stages of the match and with the experience involved in the match, it would be strange if they were not. They have a few good chances in quick succession with the clearance off the line by Bailly from a Virgil van Dijk header, then a Salah header which was stopped by Grant. United then took charge for a moment with Sanchez on the attack, unable to create anything for United.

Mata found the back of the net for the second time in this match, against ruled for offside, which was a close encounter. The tempo in the game was like that of a Premier League encounter between the two sides. Sanchez was seemingly more frustrated than he was against Milan a few days ago after Matteo Darmian’s final ball to the Chilean being very poor, ending up with the ball reaching the Liverpool goalkeeper.

Liverpool won a penalty after Salah was seemingly fouled by Demetri Mitchell in the area with the referee pointing to the spot. Salah went down very easily though. I hope he did not injury anything. We know he likes to be wrapped up in cotton wool. Sadio Mane took the penalty, to the right of Grant, who guessed the right area but the ball was tucked into the corner.

After Liverpool’s goal, there was a water break in the game. After the restart, United won a free-kick in the final third with Andreas Pereira taking the set-piece. The Belgian-born Brazilian hit a stunning kick towards goal, tucking it into the top corner with Liverpool’s young goalkeeper nowhere near making the save. United were back in the game, 1-1.

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Salah was getting the better of both Tim Fosu-Mensah and Axel Tuanzebe on occasion but both United players were still up for the challenge. Bailly seemed to be the stalwart in defence, seemingly keeping Liverpool at bay as much as he could. Liverpool had another chance to fins another goal in the last three minutes of the half but the offside flag was raised.

Liverpool won a corner in the 44th minute of the match with Milner taking it. The ball met Van Dijk inside the box and his header went straight to Grant, who made the easy save to deny Liverpool from taking the lead for a second time. There was a minute of added time at the end of the first half of the match, nothing came of the added time and the half ended 1-1. All to play for in the second half.

At the start of the second half, Mourinho replaced Grant with Joel Pereira. Liverpool made four changes with both Salah and Mane not playing in the second half. Fabinho was the first player to be booked in the game for clipping the heels of Sanchez as United tried to counter through him – the Liverpool supporters will be saying ‘he took one for the team’, bless them.

The tempo in the game had started to slow around ten minutes into the second half and United were struggling to get Sanchez involved in the game. There was another break around the hour mark due to a pitch invader, who was seemingly caught with an NFL like challenge, according to the commentary on MUTV. It would have been good to see that.

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Liverpool found themselves ahead once again in the match after making four more changes. Xherdan Shaqiri beat Joel Pereira at close range in the 66th minute of the match, leaving United with more to do in order to level or push to win the match. The Liverpool supporters will be celebrating this match as it must mean so much for them right now. Bless them, they only have one trophy to show for the last 12 years.

Mourinho made two more changes in the 71st minute of the match with Tahith Chong replacing Mitchell and Fred replacing Mata, making his first appearance for his new club. Liverpool won another penalty in the 73rd minute after Herrera seemingly took his man down in the box. Ojo scored, stuttering his run up and beating Pereira from the spot. United faced defeat for the first time in the USA, oh well.

After conceding the third goal of the game, United needed to get themselves back into the game. Sanchez nearly did that, getting through on goal but seeing his shot head off target, perhaps a good chance for United to claw something back. In the 80th minute of the match, Mourinho made three more changes with Tuanzebe, Herrera, and Sanchez being replaced by Josh Bohui, Ro-Shaun Williams, Angel Gomes.

Just after the changes, Liverpool scored their fourth goal, Shaqiri’s second, scoring an overhead kick past Pereira. It will be like Liverpool have won the Champions League again, like they did in May, oh! I wonder if they will get a trophy for this match or whether Klopp will use it for bragging rights over Mourinho, seeing as Liverpool have not beaten him at United yet.

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It was a 4-1 defeat for United in their second International Champions Cup match, their fourth pre-season match in the USA. Next up for United will be Real Madrid at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami in the early hours of the 1 August (in the United Kingdom). Jose Mourinho will not be worried about the result. It was a friendly match. He will be more interested in the fitness of his players.

Goals: Andreas Pereira 30′

Manchester United: Grant (J. Pereira 46′); Darmian, Fosu-Mensah, Bailly, Tuanzebe (Bohui 80′), Mitchell (Chong 72′); McTominay, Herrera (Williams 80′), A. Pereira; Mata (Fred 72′), Sanchez (Gomes 80′)

Substitutes Not Used: Shaw; Garner, Hamilton; Greenwood

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