Just over 101,000 fans packed inside Michigan Stadium as Manchester United and Liverpool played out an entertaining spectacle in Ann Arbor, but the International Champions Cup fixture ultimately ended in frustration as the Merseysiders ran out 4-1 winners.
A couple of penalties from Sadio Mane and Sheyi Ojo, plus second-half strikes from Daniel Sturridge and Xherdan Shaqiri,sealed the victory for Liverpool after a sublime first-half free-kick from Andreas Pereira.
There was a late change for United when the teams stepped out, with Eric Bailly replacing Chris Smalling in the backline as a precautionary measure. The Ivorian lined up in a back three alongside Tim Fosu-Mensah on the right of him and Axel Tuanzebe on the left. Matteo Darmian and Demi Mitchell provided support down the wings, while up front Alexis Sanchez led the line with support from Juan Mata.
United v Liverpool Gallery
The best images from a high-profile contest at Michigan Stadium.
It was Liverpool who had a couple of early sighters with Mo Salah, predictably, the one who was buzzing in and around the United defence. The Egyptian’s header forced Lee Grant into a finger-tip save after Mane had found him with a floated ball into the box. From the resulting corner, United were thankful to captain-for-the-day Ander Herrera as he cleared Virgil van Dijk’s back-post effort off the line.
Mane found Salah again four minutes later but his tame header was easy for Grant to collect.
At the other end, Mata twice had the ball in the net within a few minutes, after lovely link-up play both times with Alexis, but each time the flag was up for offside.
Jurgen Klopp’s men then took the lead on 28 minutes, after Salah was tripped by Demi Mitchell and Mane dispatched the spot-kick with aplomb despite Grant going the right way.
Liverpool's lead lasted barely three minutes as United drew level in stunning fashion. When awarded a free-kick some 25 yards out, Mata, Alexis and Pereira all stood over it, and it was the latter who dispatched a quite stunning effort into the top corner with Kamil Grabara stood like a statue in goal.
There was one change for the Reds at the half-time break with Joel Pereira replacing Lee Grant. Liverpool began brightly again, but United also looked dangerous in attack and McTominay will be disappointed he couldn’t connect properly with an effort on 55 minutes after nice set-up play from Alexis.
Fosu-Mensah was on hand to clear the danger when Mane sent a header goalwards soon after, but the United defence could do nothing to stop Klopp’s men taking the lead on 65 minutes when Liverpool debutant Shaqiri brought a long pass down in the box and found Sturridge who rolled a shot in off the far post.
Liverpool netted their third goal eight minutes later in somewhat harsh circumstances, when Herrera was adjudged to have fouled Andy Robertson inside the box, but the contact looked minimal. Substitute Ojo stepped up and coolly slotted home the penalty.
Two minutes earlier Fred had entered the fray for his first United appearance, but it proved to be a match to forget for the Reds as Liverpool claimed a fourth eight minutes from time thanks to a brilliant Shaqiri bicycle kick.
Next up for the Reds is a trip to Miami and another big game… this time against Real Madrid as Tour 2018, presented by Aon, draws to a close.
HOW WE LINED UP
United: Grant (J.Pereira 46), Darmian, Fosu-Mensah, Bailly, Tuanzebe (Williams 81), Mitchell (Chong 71), McTominay, Herrera (Bohui 81), A. Pereira, Mata (Fred 71), Alexis (Gomes 81).
Subs not used: Garner, Hamilton, Greenwood.