Date: August 4, 2014
Venue: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
Kick-off Time: 01:00 am BST (next day)
It’s the final of the International Champions Cup 2014 and Manchester United will be up against arch-rivals Liverpool in this ‘friendly’. Except that this will not be a friendly given the teams involved in this contest, a sentiment echoed by both, United midfielder Darren Fletcher and Liverpool coach Brendan Rodgers.
Manchester United’s Form
We all know how Manchester United went last season. To have missed out on the title was bad enough after winning it the previous season but to have not made it to Europe would have scalded the club bad. A change in coach after just one year being in charge was made and Louis van Gaal has made some dramatic changes to the line-up.
Their pre-season form has been good, having won all their four matches they have played so far. It started with a 7-0 hammering of LA Galaxy before they beat Roma 3-2. The match between Manchester United & Inter Mila ended on 0-0 before the English club won it on penalties while their biggest win came against Real Madrid, clinching the tie 3-1.
Liverpool would be hurting from their title slip-up last season, and will hope to overturn all that this year. They have had a mixed start to their pre-season, after losing to Brondby and Roma but beating Manchester City (on penalties) and AC Milan to set up this meeting. It must be said that the goals haven’t flowed as easily as they did when Luis Suarez was around.
Key Players/Team News
Van Gaal will be looking to not only use this match to set the side’s last season record right, but also learn more about his players. With Robin van Persie still injured, Javier Hernandez could get a go following his goal against Real Madrid, while Wayne Rooney might partner him. Juan Mata could also get a look-in.
Injuries to some of Liverpool’s key players mean they will not be playing their top XI by any stretch – especially in attack. With Suarez gone, and Daniel Sturridge, Jon Flannagan and Adam Lallana out injured, the onus will shift on to Rickie Lambert to get going for the side. He has already missed a penalty in the pre-season and it will be interesting to see if he can compensate for that with a show to remember.
It’s no surprise that Manchester United go into the game as favourites priced 2.25 at Ladbrokes – to win it in 90 minutes, odds which are likely to shorten as we get closer to the game. I will be backing the Red Devils in this one.