It may only have been pre-season, but to beat Man United 4-1 in front of a crowd of over 100,000 was an enjoyable way to end Liverpool’s US tour.
Man United 1-4 Liverpool
Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbour
Pre-Season Friendly (7)
Mane pen 28′ (assist — Salah)
A. Pereira 30′
Sturridge 64′ (assist — Shaqiri)
Ojo pen 73′ (assist — Robertson)
Shaqiri 82′ (assist — Woodburn)
First-half XI: Grabara; Camacho, Van Dijk, Klavan, Moreno; Fabinho, Lallana, Milner; Salah, Mane, Solanke.
Jurgen Klopp‘s men made a positive start, showing a nice mix of aggression and attacking intent against a side whom a match could never truly be termed a ‘friendly.’
Three times in the opening 10 minutes, the Reds—who played in their grey third kit—went close to breaking the deadlock, with Dominic Solanke and Mohamed Salah both getting an early sight of goal.
Virgil van Dijk then had a header cleared off the line after a corner, as Klopp’s team remained in the ascendency.
The link-up play between Sadio Mane and Salah, in particular, was pleasing to see from a Liverpool perspective, while starting goalkeeper Kamil Grabara also showed good footwork in evading a challenging forward.
Just before the half-hour mark the deadlock was broken, and for the second time in 30 on-pitch minutes against Manchester sides, it was Sadio Mane who scored from the penalty spot.
Salah beat the defender to a loose ball and was fouled, with his fellow forward burying the resulting spot-kick.
The lead lasted only a minute or two though, with Andreas Pereira curling a top-corner free-kick from 25 yards to immediately equalise.
Mane should have had a second penalty before the break which the referee missed, as the teams went in level at the interval.
Klopp made five changes at half time, the most notable of which saw new signing Xherdan Shaqiri make his debut, playing in a No. 10 role behind Solanke.
The second half was of a slower tempo to start, however, with several Reds in switched roles.
Alexis Sanchez saw a first chance fall his way from a free-kick, but poor control allowed sub keeper Caoimhin Kelleher to gather easily. Sheyi Ojo then steered a header across the face of goal at the other end.
Klopp made another glut of subs just after the hour mark—and one had an immediate effect.
Shaqiri held off Eric Bailly and teed up Daniel Sturridge, and the striker scored with his first touch, a right-footed finish into the far corner.
It was 3-1 not long after, as Andy Robertson was felled in the box and Sheyi Ojo showed plenty of confidence and composure to roll home the spot-kick.
The biggest cheer of the night came inside the final 10 minutes though, as Shaqiri sealed an emphatic non-competitive debut with a stunning goal of his own.
A cross from the left from Woodburn was met by a pinpoint overhead kick from the Swiss international, burying his bicycle kick to put the Reds 4-1 up.
It meant an excellent first appearance in a Liverpool shirt for the new signing, and a very pleasing end to the tour of the US for the Reds overall.
Beating United 4-1 while wearing a grey kit, bringing back memories of 2009.
Liverpool: Grabara (Kelleher 45′); Camacho (Jones 63′), Van Dijk (Gomez 63′), Klavan (Phillips 45′), Moreno (Robertson 63′); Fabinho (Chirivella 63′), Lallana (Woodburn 45′), Milner (Grujic 63′); Salah (Shaqiri 45′), Mane (Ojo 45′), Solanke (Sturridge 63′).
TIA Man of the Match: Xherdan Shaqiri
Next match: Napoli (N) – Pre-Season Friendly – August 4