Jose Mourinho’s mind games fell flat as Manchester United were hammered 4-1 by Liverpool in their International Champions Cup clash late Saturday.
Swiss star Xherdan Shaqiri marked his first appearance for Liverpool with a stunning overhead kick and also set up Daniel Sturridge for a cool finish, while penalties from Sadio Mané and Sheyi Ojo added to Mourinho’s problems ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.
Mourinho had lamented United’s lack of activity in the transfer market when compared to their rivals, and the gulf in class couldn’t be more clearly stated.
Reigning PFA Player of the Year Mohamed Salah and Mané started for the first time together this pre-season, and the Reds were the sharper and more dangerous side throughout as the Egypt and Senegal internationals showed an understanding that United struggled to match.
Klopp’s team created three decent openings before taking the lead. Dominic Solanke saw a back-heel flick blocked at the front post and Lee Grant, the United goalkeeper, twice saved from Salah headers.
Jurgen Klopp’s men soon edged ahead when Salah, oozing confidence, was felled inside the area by a clumsy challenge from Demetri Mitchell, allowing Mané to fire the resulting penalty low and hard beyond Grant’s right hand.
The Red Devils levelled in style only three minutes after the heat break when Andreas Pereira, enjoying a strong, disciplined game in the centre of United’s midfield, capped his display with a superb free-kick swept into the top corner from 25 yards.
The flow of the game remained unchanged despite a raft of Liverpool substitutions in the second half, however, with Klopp’s team continuing to dominate. Shaqiri was highly impressive, setting up Sturridge for a fine finish into the bottom corner with his first touch of the game.
A second penalty decision, awarded when Herrera was wrongly adjudged to have tripped Andy Robertson, gave Ojo the opportunity to roll a confident penalty past Joel Pereira.
And Shaqiri put the icing on the cake with a stunning overhead kick beyond the United keeper to underline Liverpool’s superiority.