Manchester United beat Liverpool 3-1 on their pre-season tour, but what did we learn?
Manchester United continued their impressive pre-season form by beating Liverpool 3-1 in the USA on Tuesday morning.
So as United prepare to return to England, what did we learn from their final International Champions Cup match?
Rooney should thrive under van Gaal
Wayne Rooney has been in fine form this summer and continued that as he equalised for United and made it five goals in five pre-season matches.
There has been much debate as to where Rooney plays best, but it appears in van Gaal’s 3-5-2 formation the England striker will be played very much up front.
The forward thrived there in the past when released from the responsibilities of dropping deep and there is no reason he cannot outscore Robin van Persie this season.
United’s starting XI for Swansea may have been revealed
It was no surprise when United’s starting XI was announced prior to kick off. And one suspects the 11 players who began the match against Liverpool will be the same 11 who take on Swansea City in the Premier League in under a fortnight.
There are still likely to be new additions, while the likes of Robin van Persie, Marouane Fellaini and Adnan Januzaj are all waiting back in Manchester. But one suspects van Gaal will not differ from the side who took to the field against Liverpool when the real competition kicks off later this month.
Mata set for a fine campaign
Juan Mata continued his own fine form against Liverpool, putting United ahead and again looking effective behind the forwards.
It is the position he thrives in and one he was not played in enough following his January move to Old Trafford.
Mata has shown this summer that if he stays fit there is no reason he cannot replicate the form that saw him win back-to-back Player of the Year awards at former club Chelsea.
Lingard not forgotten
Last summer, Jesse Lingard was the name on many United fans’ lips after he enjoyed an outstanding pre-season tour.
However, once the real business kicked off it was Adnan Januzaj who stole the headlines while Lingard headed out on loan to the Championship.
A four-goal debut performance for Birmingham City suggested Moyes should have kept him at Old Trafford. And it will be interesting to see what van Gaal has in store for Lingard after the attacking midfielder scored United’s last goal of their American tour.
Blackett could be set for his breakthrough season
Another game, another substitute appearance from Tyler Blackett; and the longer United go without signing more defensive cover, the more likely it is that Blackett will be given chances next season.
Reece James’ injury means Blackett has got plenty of minutes on tour and another solid showing against Liverpool hints that he could be Luke Shaw’s back-up next season and possibly beyond.