There were contrasting fortunes for Manchester United and Liverpool in their pre-season meeting this weekend.
While Jurgen Klopp’s side once again looked like a team worth trusting with Fantasy Premier League investment, the reasons to avoid Manchester United continue to grow.
We’ve taken a look at the big clash for Scout Notes…
Manchester United 1-4 Liverpool
- Goals: Andreas Pereira | Sadio Mané (£9.5m), Daniel Sturridge (£6.0m), Sheyi Ojo, Xherdan Shaqiri (£7.5m)
- Assists: None | Mohamed Salah (£13.0m), Shaqiri, Andrew Robertson (£6.0m), Ben Woodburn
Manchester United’s defensive woes worsened over the weekend as they were thrashed 4-1 by Liverpool in Michigan. Chris Smalling (£6.0m) pulled up in the warm-up and was forced out of the game, while Luke Shaw (£5.0m) sat out the match too. That meant that Eric Bailly (£5.5m) had to play in the meeting while carrying an injury himself, and Jose Mourinho also revealed that Nemanja Matic (£5.0m) would miss the start of the season.
“Smalling? I’ve no idea (about a return). Shaw? I’ve no idea. Matic had a surgery. Yes, of course (he is out for the start of the season). I don’t know (about a return). He came from the World Cup with an injury and the time he had to rest in the holiday was not enough to resolve the problem.”
Such a slew of injuries could seriously damage United’s clean sheet prospects for the beginning of the season with Antonio Valencia (£6.5m) potentially out for a month, Diogo Dalot (£5.5m) not available until September and Marcos Rojo (£5.0m) and Matteo Darmian (£5.0m) destined for exits. There hasn’t been too much interest in the Red Devil’s defenders thus far, Bailly the most popular with just 5.8 percent backing. However, David De Gea (£6.0m) has become the most fashionable shot stopper and he could be set for some sales in the coming days. Since Friday, the Spaniard has already lost 0.4 percent ownership, with Ederson (£5.5m) or Alisson Becker (£5.5m) potential alternatives to the United man.
Man United were equally poor at the opposite end of the field, mustering just three shots on goal. One of those was Andreas Pereira’s impressive first-half free-kick but forward players Alexis Sánchez (£10.5m) and Juan Mata (£6.5m) were starved of service playing in front of a second-string midfield. Anthony Martial (£7.5m) was not involved again and it looks as if the problems are mounting for Mourinho, which may put Fantasy managers off owning United assets.
“Antonio Valencia comes from holiday – I think too much holiday for him. His condition was not good when he was back, then injury and also go back. Anthony Martial has the baby and after the baby is born – beautiful baby, full of health, thank God – he should be here and he is not here. So we have Alexis (Sanchez) and (Juan) Mata who play every minute of every match and now we have Real Madrid and after that Bayern Munich and that’s our start.”
On the other hand, Liverpool demonstrated their credentials for Gameweek 1 investment with another strong performance. Of particular note was Sadio Mané dispatching his second penalty-kick of pre-season, despite the fact that Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) had won it. Also on the pitch at the time was James Milner (5.5m), long-time taker, and Fabinho (£6.0m) whose history suggested he could be in the conversation. The fact that they did not step up for this one does imply that the Senegalese forward could be set to take spot kicks in the league this season. Salah’s penalty record at Liverpool is scored one, missed one, while Roberto Firmino (£9.5m) has missed two from three he has taken.
Xherdan Shaqiri (£7.5m) put on another good display which could see him force his way into the starting line-up earlier than expected, especially with Firmino still absent. The Swiss international played in an advanced role against Manchester United providing an assist and scoring a spectacular bicycle kick in the second-half. Also pushing for first-team involvement is Daniel Sturridge (£6.0m) whose substitute appearance in this match provided his fourth goal of pre-season – no Liverpool player has more so far.
The battle between Joe Gomez (£5.0m) and Ragnar Klavan (£4.5m) to start at centre-back alongside Virgil van Dijk (£6.0m) for Gameweek 1 was not furthered by this particular match. Gomez started Liverpool’s previous encounter with Klavan replacing him at half-time, this time around it was the Estonian who got the nod from the beginning. He played 45 minutes before Nathaniel Phillips came on for him while Gomez replaced van Dijk in the 65th minute. We will definitely need to follow this situation more throughout the summer.
MANCHESTER UNITED XI (3-5-1-1): Grant (J Pereira 45’); Fosu-Mensah, Bailly, Tuanzebe (Gomes 81’); Mitchell (Fred 71’), McTominay, A Pereira, Herrera (Bohui 81’), Darmian; Mata (Chong 71’), Sánchez (Williams 81’).
LIVERPOOL XI (4-3-3): Grabara (Kelleher 45’); Moreno (Robertson 65’), Klavan (Phillips 45’), van Dijk (Gomez 65’), Camacho (Chrivella 65’); Lallana (Woodburn 45’), Fabinho (Jones 65’), Milner (Grujic 65’); Mané (Ojo 45’), Solanke (Sturridge 65’), Salah (Shaqiri 45’).
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