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5 August 2014
• Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
S. Gerrard 14'
W. Rooney 55'
J. Lingard 88'
Well, I'll leave Manchester United to their celebrations then, with the presentation ceremony en route. Not quite the Champions League title, but a trophy's still a trophy. I've been Keeghann Sinanan and it's been a pleasure!
Rodgers will surely be disappointed that his side could not keep up their confident first half display. They looked lost for ideas once forced to chase a way back into the match.
It was a stirring response from United in the second half to clinch the International Champions Cup. Two of their goals were executed to perfection and it's hard to deny them this win.
So Louis van Gaal takes his first honours as Manchester United manager, and it's come halfway across the world from Old Trafford. Five wins from five pre-season friendlies for the Red Devils under their new boss.
90' + 3'
Full time! Manchester United take the trophy!
90' + 2'
Manchester United are moments away from lifting the International Champions Cup. Liverpool are done and dusted, there's nothing left in the tank or on the clock for them to mount a comeback at this stage.
This has been a fantastic response from Manchester United after they were considerably second best throughout the first half. His defensive awareness may be non-existent, but Ashley Young has been a revelation attacking from a wing back role tonight.
Goal Jesse Lingard
LINGARD WRAPS IT UP! Cleverly sprays a lovely ball out wide to Young, who curls the ball towards the top of the box. Kagawa chips in with the deftest of layoffs, leaving it all in place for Lingard to bang into the bottom corner from outside the area!
Liverpool have shown that their pressing and dynamism has not lost a beat since last season. One player who has not looked at home in that setup is Lambert. He looks like the old guy at a pickup game. Early days still for him to carve out a role in the Reds squad.
So what have we learned from this game? Well, I see a lot of good coming from Van Gaal's 3-5-2 formation, although the likes of Young and Nani stick out like sore thumbs in such a setup. Shaw has played with the intelligence of a player twice his age. He could be an institution on the left.
Smalling doesn't flinch for a second. Peterson's weak shot instead finds its way to Ibe at the far post, but before he cam apply the finishing touch, the Man Utd defender gets rid of the ball with a stupendous sliding tackle.
OOH THAT WAS CLEVER FROM UNITED! Kagawa plays the ball into Rooney at the top of the box and the striker smoothly lays the ball back to the Japanese, who had made a dart towards the byeline. He has three to pick out, but his swift delivery into the box is met by no one.
Liverpool did show their comeback chops against Manchester City in New York. They have just over 10 minutes to pull it off again. Meanwhile, Van Gaal makes another sub, with Lingard coming on for Herrera, who has had an uncharacteristically sloppy game on the ball.
Peterson and Coutinho off. Good shift put in from the Brazilian, who played some nice passes, had a stinger saved by De Gea and contributed to the team pressing.
Liverpool have shown absolutely nothing since conceding. To be fair, United have rather ground the game to a halt after taking the lead for the first time. The raft of substitutions hasn't helped the rhythm either.
Kolo Toure will replace Sakho in the latest sub. The former Paris Saint-Germain defender was having a storming game, up until his unfortunate sliding deflection that lent a hand to Mata's goal. But like I said earlier, the best defenders never need to do last ditch. Perhaps he could have prevented Mata from even getting the space for the shot.
An almighty tussle between Ibe and Shaw sees the Liverpool substitute just about evade the defender, after carrying the ball from one corner of the box to the other. He can't execute on the final ball though.
More subs coming from Van Gaal. Mata makes way in a straight swap for Kagawa, while Nani has departed, with Nani coming on for Chicharito. Looks like the Portuguese will play centrally in what might be one of his last games for United, if you believe the internets.
That was some cheek from Rooney, and he nearly got away with that. Imagine if that had gone down in a Premier League game? I think that Twitter might have exploded.
CONTROVERSY! A speculative ball from deep hits the frame on the roof of the net BEHIND the goal and bounces back into play. Rooney tucks it home almost sheepishly, but the referee points to the centre circle to allow the goal to stand! Liverpool are dumbfounded, but the officials eventually realize their mistake. It's still 2-1.
A triple change for Liverpool. On comes Ibe, Can and Lucas. Off goes Gerrard, Lambert and Allen. The former Southampton striker in particular looked his age today, reacting very slowly to a few chances that fell his way.
Now it's Liverpool's turn to give the ball away cheaply in midfield. They're the ones suddenly looming disjointed and ripe for exploitation. Rodgers has sighted the dilemma and is readying his first changes of the evening.
That's how you turn a game in an instant, folks. Incredible stuff from Manchester United and Liverpool are looking to get back in this game, but their heads are still spinning. Two goals in as many minutes to turn 0-1 into 2-1.
Goal Juan Mata
SECOND GOAL FOR UNITED! Shaw does well to bring down Rooney's crossfield ball, and he squares it straight away for Mata. He turns onto his left foot and fires away from just inside the area, and a slight deflection off the sliding Sakho wrong-foots Mingolet!
Goal Wayne Rooney
NOT SO FAST! ROONEY TIES IT UP! Hernandez angles in a terrific cross from the right that catches Skrtel in two minds, and Rooney does even better to plant a side-footed finish across Mingolet and into the opposite side! 1-1 here in Miami!
Henderson hits and hopes with a cross from the right that still requires full concentration from De Gea before it dips into the roof of the net. Liverpool have still started the better side.
Two crosses from Rooney on the left hand side fail to bear fruit as Liverpool comfortably deal with it. Hang on, there's a yellow card brandished in the direction of Luke Shaw as well. First booking of the game after the defender deliberately prevented a Liverpool counter.
Herrera's still in half time mode. He coughs up possession once again and United are opened up. Sterling runs at pace down the left and cuts in dangerously, but his shot is deflected out for a corner. He was moving so fast that De Gea was rooted to the spot!
Gerrard shows the awareness and acceleration of a man half his age, nipping in ahead of Mata to swipe an underhit pass from Herrera. He puts the ball in position for Lambert, but once again, the striker moves with the speed of an 18-wheeler to angle his body for the shot. De Gea saves comfortably.
No changes from Liverpool at the break, but there are two swaps from Van Gaal. Cleverly and Blackett both enter the fray, with Evans and Fletcher departing the field of play.
Manchester United get us going again with Seven Nation Army blaring through the PA system.
The spectacle continues throughout the half time break! There's been a banger of a set from DJ Martin Garrix for the fans inside the Sun Life Stadium, accompanied by a laser show. What a show here in Miami!
Manchester United have had chances of their own, mostly fashioned through the width offered by their wing backs. However, at times, they've been careless with the ball and have struggled to navigate around the opposition's pressing.
Liverpool are ahead and happy here in Miami. Gerrard's penalty has given them a deserved advantage at the break. They've looked the more purposeful side throughout the game, and have particularly impressed with their high pressing approach.
The referee doesn't even wait for the clock to hit 45:00 before signalling for half time.
Liverpool perhaps trying to catch De Gea with his mind already on the half time break. Sterling is the latest to have a go from distance, cutting onto his stronger right foot to let loose with a curler, but the Spaniard gobbles it up with ease.
Kelly gets it all wrong from 30 yards out. You could see the gears turning in his head as he strode forward out of the back, but De Gea does not have to move, except to go get the ball for the goal kick.
Coutinho does amazingly to evade three rough challenges in the middle of the park and emerge still holding onto the ball. Very easy for him to go down on any one of those challenges, but he stood his ground. Great stuff from the Brazilian playmaker!
What looked like a promising move for United evaporates in an instant. Shaw finds a clever run from Rooney, and the captain for the night cuts back onto his right before circling around the corner of the box. Right near the D, he has the option to pass or shoot, but his attempted clip to the far post is too easy for the defence to head clear.
De Gea shows great command of his area to punch a free kick away from his goal over his own man Herrera and under further pressure from Lambert. He's improved enormously in that area, the Spanish keeper, no longer the skinny bag of nerves that slunk around his box in 2011.
STERLING DENIED ANOTHER PENALTY! Moments after a superb play, Smalling hams it up with a giveaway on the edge of his box. That gets Sterling twisting and turning in the box, and he falls under pressure from Herrera. The referee is not moved, however and tells him to get to his feet. He's not booked for a dive either.
With one wondrous touch, Sterling takes the ball around his marker. Should he get past his next man then he has only De Gea to beat, but Smalling reads the danger excellently and sprints forward to execute a perfect sliding tackle to cover the gap and kill the chance.
You still get the feeling that Manchester United's formation is lacking something in attack tonight. Perhaps it's a little too dependent on the wing backs to provide width. Things are getting a little too congested in the middle for my liking - credit to Liverpool for that.
Rooney wastes a god free kick chance from 25 yards by slamming the ball straight into the wall, but it doesn't end a strong period of United pressure. They've got Liverpool on the back foot for the moment, but Rodgers' men still hold the advantage thanks to Gerrard's penalty.
COUTINHO DENIED! The Rio de Janeiro native takes aim from just over 20 yards and his strike is heading for the bottom corner. But De Gea is on to it, and pushes the shot around the post! Lovely keeping!
Sakho's been another who has caught my eye tonight. He's made three clutch last ditch defensive plays to deny the opposition. I'm of the school of thought that the best defenders are well positioned enough to never need to make such plays, but you can't deny Sahko's flawless execution under pressure.
I have to say that I'm impressed with the impetus provided from Manchester United's wing backs. Mata and Shaw link succinctly down the left, with the Spaniard freeing the young left back via a deft pass. He has the wind in his sails, but decides to cut it back for Rooney instead of driving further, and Sakho is out to make an excellent sliding tackle.
OOOH...not for the first time today, Young swings in a threatening cross with his right boot. It's curled just beyond the reach of Skrtel's outstretched boot but crucially, it's beyond Rooney as well. A superb ball and an opening for United, no doubt.
Liverpool have not dropped off in their high pressure approach, with Sterling leading the team press from the front. Word is that Rodgers wants his young front man to push further forward in a bid to use his pace to get behind once again, even at the expense of some defensive responsibility.
Man United are holding a deep defensive line against the waves of Liverpool possession. To their credit, the Reds have not often gotten in behind them, though the one time they did it straight away led to the opening goal via the penalty spot.
You can't really deny Liverpool that opener. Manchester United had their moments for a few minutes or so, but in general, there's been one side clearly controlling the tempo of this match so far.
Penalty Goal Steven Gerrard
NO MISTAKE FROM STEVIE G! He sends De Gea the wrong way, confidently burying his spot kick into the right hand side of the Spanish keeper's goal! Liverpool lead 1-0!
PENALTY FOR LIVERPOOL! Johnson is afforded all kinds of space at the top of the box and he slips in Sterling on the left. Not for the first time, Jones comes out to meet him, but his sliding tackle is deemed too reckless by the referee!
CHANCE FOR LIVERPOOL! Wow, Chicharito very nearly sold his side down the river. Gerrard took the free kick and the Mexican's attempt at a back header instead nearly laid the ball on a plate for Lambert at the corner. He can't angle his body in time to get the header on target though!
There's been a very early substitution here from Manchester United. Valencia has been hauled off in a move that I can only assume is a precaution. On comes the most expensive ever teenager in British football, Luke Shaw, who will slot in on the left.
We're starting to see the better of Manchester United since that chance. Fletcher in particular has started the game with a flourish - though as I say that, he coughs up possession cheaply in the middle of the park to Sterling, who is then taken out in the opposition half.
LIVERPOOL JUST CHEATED DEATH! Fletcher sprayed a magnificent ball to perfectly match Young's run down the right. With time and space to pick out his spot, he clips it dangerously in for Hernandez, who gets a cheeky touch from yards out - but Sakho scrambles clear in a haste before Rooney can apply the finishing touch!
Manchester United are really having a hard time getting a touch on the ball. They've started the match pressing high up the field looking to force the Liverpool back four into a mistake when they get the ball, but Sakho and Co. have acquitted themselves well so far.
Liverpool, in their yellow away kit, have started the stronger of the two sides. Lambert just about fails to get a cutback into position into the six yard area, but he still wins a corner for his team.
Both teams need no motivation to want to get the better of each other. One of English football's most heated rivalries and there will be no love lost despite the friendly tag. The strong squads put out by both coaches illuminate this line of thinking.
Here we go!
Quite a show kicking off at the Sun Life Stadium as the players make their way onto the pitch. There's been a round of fireworks to light up the evening sky and the pitch is still covered in a haze from all the explosions. Sets the tone nicely!
After tonight, it's back to business for Manchester United. Swansea City is next up for them as the Premier League returns to action. Liverpool still have the small matter of Borussia Dortmund next weekend before kicking off their own EPL campaign against Southampton - a match that has taken on real significance thanks to the Reds' pillaging of the south coast club.
Man Utd have started their new era under Van Gaal with a bang, wrapping up wins against Real Madrid and Roma to get to tonight's final. Liverpool have also notched victories against Olympiakos and AC Mlian, while they needed penalties to defeat Premier League rivals Manchester City.
Rickie Lambert is the only Liverpool new boy named in the XI. He's not had the best start to life at the Reds, but he will lead the line tonight. He's joined by Raheem Sterling and supported by Philippe Coutinho in the hole, although I would expect the pair to flank Lambert when the occasion calls for it. Captain Steven Gerrard, Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson make up the midfield trio in a strong team from Brendan Rodgers.
Wayne Rooney gets the captain's armband for the first time in pre-season, even with previous skipper Darren Fletcher in the XI. Louis van Gaal continues with three at the back, with Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia both providing impetus from the wing back positions. Fletcher is joined by Ander Herrera in central midfield, with Juan Mata in the hole.
Liverpool (4-3-1-2): Mignolet; Kelly, Johnson, Skrtel, Sakho; Gerrard, Allen, Henderson; Coutinho; Lambert, Sterling.
Manchester United (3-5-2): De Gea; Evans, Smalling, Jones; Valencia, Herrera, Fletcher, Young, Mata; Rooney, Hernandez.
It's time for the final of the International Champions Cup. Glad you could join me, Keeghann Sinanan, for all the action.
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