NEW YORK: Xherdan Shaqiri scored on a spectacular bicycle kick in the 82nd minute, capping a three-goal second half for Liverpool in a 4-1 victory over Manchester United in the International Champions Cup on Saturday.
In one of four matches played in the United States leg of the pre-season tournament, Sadio Mane, Daniel Sturridge and Sheyi Ojo also scored for Liverpool at the Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor while Andreas Pereira provided a highlight for United when he scored on a well-placed free kick in the first half.
There was a better result for United’s local rivals Manchester City as they ended their three-match campaign at the Champions Cup on a high with a 3-2 victory against Bayern Munich but their evening was soured with an injury to new signing Riyad Mahrez.
City, who had lost their opening two matches, prevailed courtesy two goals from substitute Bernardo Silva and a strike from youngster Lukas Nmecha after they had fallen 2-0 behind in Miami.
A total of 18 teams are taking part in the sixth edition of the Champions Cup with matches being held in the US, Singapore and Europe. The teams are ranked based on their results from the three matches with the best-ranked team being crowned champions.
While Liverpool finished on six points, they have no chance of winning the tournament as they trail Borussia Dortmund who finished on seven. Dortmund can be usurped by Juventus (5), Barcelona (2) and Chelsea (2), who were all in action on Saturday.
Juve overcame Benfica 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey and with a penalty shootout win carrying two points, moved to within two of Dortmund with a game to play.
Barca and Chelsea both opened their campaigns with shootout victories. Barca triumphed 5-3 on penalties against Tottenham Hotspur in Pasadena after their match ended in a 2-2 draw while Chelsea beat Inter Milan 5-4 in a shootout after they played out a 1-1 draw in the French city of Nice.
Both United and Liverpool weren’t at full strength, but the crowd of 101,254 didn’t seem to mind too much as a couple of sparkling goals made up for it.
Sadio Mane had given Liverpool the lead with a penalty just before the half-hour mark before Pereira equalised with a stunning free kick minutes later that went over the wall and into the top corner of the net.
Substitute Sturridge made it 2-1 after 66 minutes before Sheyi Ojo scored Liverpool’s second penalty of the game after Andrew Robertson went down in the box and Shaqiri, a recent signing from Stoke City, marked his Liverpool debut with a brilliant left-footed bicycle kick that made it 4-1.
After seeing his under-strength side torn apart by Liverpool, coach Jose Mourinho hit out at United’s transfer window inactivity.
United’s failure to bolster their resources and the absence of several key first team players following the World Cup has forced Mourinho to field several untested youngsters during the US tour.
“I would like to have two more players,” Mourinho said. “I think I am not going to have two. I think that it’s possible I’m going to have one. I gave a list to my club of five names a few months ago and I wait to see if it’s possible to have one of these players. If it’s possible, it’s possible. If it’s not possible, it’s not possible. If it’s possible, it’s good. If not then we keep fighting and working and believing in the players that we have.”
SILVA SCORES TWICE
City dominated Bayern early on with Mahrez creating opportunities but they were punished in ruthless style by Bayern who stormed into a 2-0 lead with goals in the 14th and 23rd minutes.
Meritan Shabani headed in a cross from Rafinha before Franck Ribery’s lofted ball saw Arjen Robben score with a superb control and finish past Claudio Bravo and City’s evening seemed heading for the worse when Mahrez was forced off on 27 minutes with an ankle injury.
However, Silva who came on for Mahrez, pulled one back for City on the stroke of half-time, the Portuguese running unchallenged for 25 yards before producing an excellent low, curling finish.
Nmecha steered a rebound home from close range in the 51st and City turned the game on its head with 20 minutes remaining when Adrian Bernabe teed up Silva.
Serie A champions Juve lacked coherence in their play throughout and Benfica took a deserved lead in the 65th minute, Alex Grimaldo deceiving substitute goalkeeper Perin with a 25-yard free-kick that dramatically dipped under the woodwork.
Juve were without big names including star signing Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina attackers Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain, and it was Luca Clemenza who produced a superb equaliser with just six minutes to play.
And they grabbed a shootout win with Alex Sandro scoring the winning spot-kick after Jonas had hit the post and Mattia Perin saved from Joao Felix.
Barca took the lead against Spurs with a devastatingly simple 15th minute goal. Andre Gomes delivered an inswinging cross from the left, Rafinha escaped at the far post and headed the ball back into the six-yard box, where Munir cushioned it into the net from point-blank range.
New signing Arthur doubled the lead with a shot from the edge of the area but Spurs hit back in the second half with two goals in as many minutes.
Son Heung-min scored from a rebound after Christian Eriksen’s shot from Ben Davies’ cross was saved before Georges-Kevin N’koudou pounced with a volley from inside the six-yard box after another Eriksen shot had been turned away.
In the penalty shoot-out that followed, Anthony Georgious missed for Spurs, with Barcelona converting all five of their spot-kicks.
Chelsea won against Inter after goalkeeper Willy Caballero saved a penalty from Milan Skriniar in the shootout.
Spain international Pedro struck after just eight minutes in Nice, slotting in a rebound after Inter keeper Samir Handanovic saved from a lively Alvaro Morata.
But Inter levelled early in the second half through Roberto Gagliardini, whose drilled shot proved too much for Argentina’s Caballero after fellow half-time substitute Tiemoue Bakayoko gave the ball away.
Caballero, who was dropped at the World Cup following a 3-0 group stage loss to Croatia, saved from Skriniar with his legs in the shootout before Cesar Azpilicueta converted the decisive spot-kick.
Published in Dawn, July 30th, 2018