Manchester United have won the International Champions Cup after they beat Liverpool 3-1 in the Final. After a poor first-half, Manchester United came back from a Steven Gerrard penalty and scored three goals in order to conclude an unbeaten preseason. United conceded the opening goal for the first time this preseason, but they responded well and provided a comeback that resembled United before David Moyes took over.
Liverpool started the first-half a lot better than Manchester United, and they looked a lot more dangerous in possession. They had more shots in the first-half, and they put United’s back three under a lot of pressure. They pressed the defense every time they touched the ball, which meant that United were unable to maintain possession. This pressure peaked in the 13th minute when Phil Jones brought down Raheem Sterling in the box. Gerrard sent David de Gea the wrong way with a powerful penalty. Truthfully, United looked very poor and they were lucky that they only conceded one goal. They owe a lot of that to Chris Smalling because he made some brilliant interceptions and was the best United defender.
The Final became a game of two halves because United were a completely different team in the second-half. They did not register a shot on goal in the first-half, yet they took the lead with their first two shots on target in the second. United captain, Wayne Rooney, equalized in the 55th minute when he connected with Javier Hernandez’s cross with a scruffy left-footed volley. Minutes later United were 2-1 up when Juan Mata found the back of the net after Mamadou Sakho deflected his shot past Simon Mignolet. Rooney scored a second goal, but it was disallowed after the ball had hit the back-post and bounced back into play. The referee made the right decision, but Rooney did not hesitate to put the ball away. The game started to fizzle out toward the end of the game, but United added a third goal in the 88th minute. Jesse Lingard volleyed the ball in from outside the box after Shinji Kagawa failed to control Ashley Young’s cross. After a poor first-half, United played extremely well in the second, and they were deserved winners.
Manchester United finished preseason unbeaten. They beat LA Galaxy, AS Roma, Real Madrid and Liverpool, and they drew with Inter Milan. This preseason has been night and day compared to last year’s because it will boost the confidence of the players. Last preseason United struggled against Asia’s finest, but this year they beat some of the world’s best teams. It isn’t just the results that have been better, because the performances in every game have been a big improvement from last year under David Moyes. Additionally, there have been some players who have performed really well after doubts about their future.
Young has definitely been one of the most frustrating players in recent seasons, but during the past couple games he has looked fantastic. He scored two goals against Real Madrid, and he looked good against Liverpool, where he set up the final goal. Another player whose future in doubt is Hernandez. Like Young, Hernandez has played extremely well in the last two games, scoring one and assisting another. Tyler Blackett is another player who has looked good during preseason. At first I doubted his potential, but he has slotted into the back three well and has been able to deal with world-class opposition.
Louis van Gaal has admitted that players will be leaving Manchester United. He has had the opportunity to look at the players and they have performed well for him. This preseason will provide United with a lot of momentum for the upcoming season. With a relatively easy opening fixture list, it is not hard to see United getting off to an extremely good start this year.