Match Report – Manchester United 3-1 Liverpool (Sun Life Stadium)

Posted: August 5, 2014 in Fergie's Finest, Pride of All Europe, Sportswriting

In this first in a new series of match reports I gnaw on the bones of last night’s final of the International Champions Cup (which sounds a bit like a match which would take place in Thunderbirds) between north west arch-rivals Manchester United and Liverpool (played a good 1000 miles away from the north west)…

raheem_sterling_0508_640_461_100First, great result, good performances from Rooney, Young (!), and Herrera (though he gave away far too many fouls). Rooney’s first goal was excellent and his second (which was disallowed) was very funny. Lingard took his goal well too.
And it could have been a lot worse. I didn’t see any possession stats for the first half but for 20-30 minutes only Liverpool had the ball (a Hernandez sitter aside). Of course they got their customary penalty (which wasn’t one) and moaned about one they should have had (which probably was). Thought Jones and Smalling were terrible in that 45. Clumsy, awkward on the ball, kept passing it straight out of play. Clangers waiting to happen.
Second half Van Gaal changed it and pushed the forwards further forward and moved Shaw and Young further up the pitch. Also he took Fletcher off which was crucial, as he was worse than Jones and Smalling. Herrera was vital in the build-up to Rooney’s goal, and Rooney took it very well.
After we went 2-1 up the result was never in doubt, I thought. Liverpool, for all their possession, were toothless in attack. Lambert in particular was useless, and Coutinho (who is supposedly to be offered a new, extended contract) wasn’t much better. Gerrard non-existent too.
Here’s my ratings:
de Gea – 6 (a good save from Countinho, but kept smacking the ball straight out of play from goal kicks)
Young – 8 (the best I have ever seen him in a red shirt. Will probably avoid the cull now. The 3-5-2 means United will play without wingers and we have quite a few of them at the club: they must reinvent themselves or leave, and Young seems to be at least trying. Can’t really say the same for Nani.)
Jones – 6 (stupid challenge for the penalty and poor decision making)
Smalling – 5 (looked like a pub player)
Evans – 6 (looks the most likely of the back three to retain his place)
Valencia/ Shaw – 7 (supposedly unfit, but got forward well in the second half)
Fletcher – 5 (gave the ball away as frequently as Smalling/ Jones)
Herrera – 7 (played crucial part in the Rooney goal, but committed persistent fouls which will see him booked at least in a Premier League game, could have given away a second penno)
Mata – 6 (took his goal well, but was lucky with the deflection. Looked amazingly slow when through one-on-one against Gerrard)
Hernandez – 6 (great ball for Rooney could be his last contribution for United. Was only offside once)
Rooney – 8 (very good, particularly at swearing after being kicked in the ribs by Slovakian telecoms company SKRtel.)
Apparently Cleverley came on as sub, but I never saw him once.
Presentation1Andrew J Kirby is the author of Fergie’s Finest: Sir Alex Ferguson’s Greatest Manchester United x11, and The Pride of all Europe: Manchester United’s Greatest Seasons in the European Cup.
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