The Erik ten Hag era kicked off in resounding fashion with Manchester United running out 4-0 victors against Liverpool in Bangkok. Despite whatever Liverpool fans say, any win against the Merseyside opponents is cause for celebration.
While it would be foolish for United to go overboard after this first game, there were certainly many positives and the statistics back them up.
United last beat Liverpool by the same margin back in April 2003. They were on the receiving end of a similar scoreline last season.
🗯 "Our team played brave, we played proactive but we have to work really hard."
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 12, 2022
United mainly played in a 4-2-3-1 formation with full-backs asked to make runs infield to make passing angles possible.
The Red Devils certainly did not hold back, sending out a strong team in the first-half. And despite a youthful side taking to the pitch in the second period, United had 47 per cent of the ball at the end of the game.
Also the players showed a clinical side to their game, scoring four from five shots on target. And Ten Hag will be impressed with the kind of physicality his side showed. They won 14 tackles as compared to 10 by Liverpool and it showed in the end.
United completed 382 passes as compared to Liverpool’s 419, an upgrade from last season’s debacle. The Red Devils also won 7 of their aerial duels as compared to their opponents winning 10.
Anthony Martial getting on the scoresheet was a sight not seen in recent times, His last goal for the Red Devils was a strike against Everton in the Premier League, back when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was in charge.
The goal will do him a world of good. Apart from his ice-cold finish, his pressing and running rightly earned him the Man of The Match award.
Facundo Pellistri also got in on the act, finishing a stunning counter-attack. It was the last goal of the game and the Uruguayan’s second pre-season friendly goal.
He had scored against Derby County last pre-season and that have proved to be the last goal of the game as well.
Interestingly, the match was reminiscent in some ways with Ralf Rangnick’s first match in charge. United pressed feverishly right from the off, adopted a high line with and without the ball and Fred scored from a right-footed lob.
Jadon Sancho was the scorer of the opening goal.
Jurgen Klopp had famously said that there are no friendlies when these two sides meet and Ten Hag’s Reds certainly did not treat the occasion as such as the Dutch manager won his first trophy to kick off things in style.