Liverpool will be facing their biggest rivals Manchester United in the final of the International Champions Cup on Monday. This is for the first time Liverpool and United face each other in a non-competitive fixture since Billy Drennan’s testimonial in Belfast in 1983.
Manchester United topped their group after winning against AS Roma, Inter and Real Madrid. United won their last game of the group stage against La Liga giants Real Madrid in front of a US record crowd of 109,318 fans at the Michigan Stadium on Saturday night and a 3-1 win ensured a high-profile derby at Sun Life Stadium, Michigan.
Manchester United will be desperate to prove a point after missing out on Champions league qualification last season. Lous Van Gaal has made a very impressive at Manchester United, under him the Red Devils have played some beautiful football under Van Gaal in the pre-season, Ashley Young‘s first goal vs Real Madrid just goes on to show that. Robin Van Persie did not take part in the club’s pre-season US tour and will not be a part of the final against Liverpool. Rafael will also miss the game due to an injury.
Van Gaal revealed in his press conference that its highly unlikely Robin Van Persie will be a part of Manchester United’s opening fixture against Swansea on August 16 as he has just started training after an extended leave.
“I have to look at Robin van Persie if he is coming back or not.
“But if you have three weeks holiday and only four days training before the Valencia friendly (on August 12), you are not fit enough.
“For the first game in the Premier League, it’s possible but I don’t think so.”
Liverpool also topped Group B after beating Olympiakos, Manchester City and AC Milan. Liverpool knew they have already qualified for the final before facing AC Milan on Saturday as they went on to beat them 2-0, Joe Allen and Suso scored the goals for Liverpool.
A Liverpool versus Manchester United fixture can never be termed as a “friendly” and both teams will be more desperate to lift the trophy now. It will the first big test for Brendan Rodgers and his recently assembled team after the departure of Luis Suarez. Liverpool have been impressive this pre-season, but they still have a few concerns to address. They will be without their main man Daniel Sturridge, who has flown back to Merseyside due to a slight hamstring injury. Rodgers confirmed the England international to be fit in time for their last friendly against Borussia Dortmund at Anfield. New signing Lazar Markovic also missed the last training before the final and will sit out of the final due to a minor tendon problem. Markovic missed the last two friendly games against Manchester City and AC Milan. Reds will also miss the likes of Jon Flanagan, Daniel Agger, Adam Lallana and Fabio Borini, they have all returned to Merseyside early to be fit in time for Liverpool’s opening fixture against Southampton.
Brendan Rodgers: “It’s arguably the biggest game in the world and for it to be here in the United States is wonderful for the supporters and the organisers.
They are the two biggest clubs in Britain and two of the biggest in the world so it will be a fantastic game and we are looking forward to it. “
“It will be a fantastic game and we are looking forward to it. Both teams will want to win it.
“The priority is the fitness at this stage, and you don’t want players injured, but you will have two committed teams who are at the stage in pre-season where they are starting to turn the screw a wee bit.”