Thursday 22 February 2018

Five things we learned from Man United's victory over Liverpool

Manchester United's Juan Mata celebrates his goal against Liverpool at the International Champions Cup final.
Manchester United's Juan Mata celebrates his goal against Liverpool at the International Champions Cup final.

Mark Ogden

Manchester United came form behind to defeat arch-rivals Liverpool 3-1 last night and here are five things we learned from the International Champions Cup final.

1 - Van Gaal is United's best signing

Just five games into his reign as manager, Louis van Gaal has transformed the confidence and belief at Manchester United after inheriting a team which under-performed so badly under David Moyes. Van Gaal's personality and track record have gained him instant respect in the dressing room and it shows on the pitch. With the Dutchman in charge, United will be competitive again and they will only improve once his methods become second nature.

2 - Raheem Sterling can replace Luis Suarez as Liverpool's talisman

The 19-year-old winger enjoyed a stunning season at Anfield last term which earned him a World Cup place with England. And after impressing in Brazil, the youngster has taken his form on again during the tour of the USA. Against United, his pace and trickery were a constant threat and with Luis Suarez now gone, Sterling has the ability to become Liverpool's new talisman.


3 - United still need new faces

While the tour has been a success, United are short of options in defence and in midfield. Both areas were exposed by Liverpool in Miami, with United often overrun. If Louis van Gaal is to inspire United back into title contention, he must add at least three new players before the end of the transfer window.

Central defence should be a priority. Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans and Phil Jones are the likely starters at the moment, but there resources will be stretched if Van Gaal continues with his preference for a three-man central defence.

4 - Gerrard can still deliver

Steven Gerrard may have retired from international football, but the former England captain has at least one more season in his legs as Liverpool's driving force. For an hour against United, he defied the sapping heat to run the game from midfield. A Premier League season is a demanding slog of 38 games and he will face Champions League demands too, but there is plenty of life in the old dog yet.

5 - The 39th step may be closer after this Miami clash

A crowd in excess of 51,000 turned out to watch English football's two global super powers slug it out in Miami. Over the past two weeks, huge crowds have watch United, Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal playing in the States and the appetite will have been whetted further by this fiercely competitive clash. The Premier League's 2008 plan for a 39th game across the globe failed to materialise, but the appetite for such a development will be even greater after the success of this American summer.

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