Brendan Rodgers and Louis van Gaal will experience an early test against each other when Liverpool and Manchester United meet in the ICC Cup final in the early hours of tomorrow morning.
It’s been an extremely productive pre-season so far for both sides, with Rodgers already stoking up the war of words by suggesting van Gaal could struggle with life in the Premier League.
It’s an early chance for each side to get one over on the other and we’ve looked at five of the key battles, which are likely to break out during the game.
Daniel Sturridge v Jonny Evans
Sturridge is going to be the main man in Liverpool’s attack this season and he has an early chance to leave a mental scar on the Manchester United defence. Evan’s job will be to play sensible defensive football and ensure that Sturridge doesn’t get a lot of time on the ball.
Raheem Sterling v Luke Shaw
This is going to be a real test for the left-back who United paid big for earlier this summer. Sterling has the ability to run him ragged over the course of 90 minutes whether that’s going down the outside with his pace or pulling Shaw out of position with inside runs.
Emre Can v Ander Herrera
Liverpool’s new £10 million signing will get a proper workout against another of United’s heavy summer purchases. If Can can get on top of Herrera in this game and prevent the Spaniard from pulling the strings and controlling proceedings, Liverpool stand a great chance of a win.
Jack Robinson v Antonio Valencia
Valencia has pace to burn down the right hand side of United’s attack and he’ll be looking to keep the left-back confined in his own half and finding it very difficult to settle. Valencia could be playing as a wing-back but either way Robinson needs to stay switched on throughout.
Sebastian Coates v Danny Welbeck
Welbeck will most likely play on Coates’ side of the defence. He’s a very intelligent forward and he won’t just settle centrally, as he looks to pull the Uruguayan out of position. Coates has so far been superb in pre-season for the Reds and this will be a big test.