Manchester United have started their pre-season and what a start it has been. While not a lot of expectations should be put on these performances, it will be a great boost for everyone at Man United that Erik ten Hag’s side has demolished bitter rivals Liverpool 4-0 in a friendly match in Bangkok.
Ten Hag named a strong starting XI to face Liverpool, while Jurgen Klopp only brought out some of the best players in the last 30 minutes of the match. But despite that, it was a great start to see, as United stormed to a 3-0 lead after just something more than 30 minutes of play.
It all started with a Jadon Sancho finish 12 minutes in, before Fred doubled the lead at the half-hour mark. Then it was on Anthony Martial to beat Allison one-on-one, to score just minutes after Fred, to make it 3-0. In the second half, Liverpool tried to get back in the match with some of the Klopp’s substitutions when Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dajk, Trent Alexander Arnold, Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara and others entered the pitch. But that was not enough, with Facundo Pellistri adding the fourth with quarter hour left.
It was a proper first-team starting XI from Ten Hag, who opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation. David de Gea was in goal, with Diogo Dalot and Luke Shaw as the two full-backs. Victor Lindelof and Raphael Varane marshalled the back four, while Fred and Scott McTominay were paired in front of them. The front four consisted of Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial and they enjoed themselves against some of the not so established Liverpool players.
A friendly match such as this one should not be of great importance for the upcoming season and for what we could actually see from United when the Premier League starts. But it is an important morale boost for everyone at the club, to have a positive first step, despite this Liverpool not being the proper Jurgen Klopp side. The likes of Anthony Martial and others could get plenty from this match, especially for their confidence and positive energy during the tough pre-season. When the mood improves around the entire squad, it is easier to work and accept the new style Ten Hag will be trying to impose on this side.
What United could the most out of this match is the belief in the system Ten Hag will continue working on. The Devils have lacked proper structure for almost entire past season and those guiding principles could make United players be more focused and understanding of what the manager will want to see from them. It will take time and this was just one of the friendlies this team will play. None of the results will have any impact on how the team will perform in competitive matches per se, but wins such as this one against Liverpool could make it easier for Ten Hag to get the players on his side.