Ahead of Saturday’s International Champions Cup game in the United States between Manchester United and Liverpool, United manager Jose Mourinho cheekily warned that it was: “Liverpool’s first team against Manchester United’s kids.
"For the last two years they have not been able to beat us, today they will think they have a chance.”
A Liverpool side more advanced in their pre-season preparation and closer to full-strength dominated and won 4-1.
Mourinho's side performed well enough the first half in front of a 101,000 crowd at ‘The Big House’ University of Michigan Stadium, but Liverpool were far superior as the game wore on.
It was only a friendly, but no United fan likes to see a ‘United 1 Liverpool 4’ scoreline.
The last time it happened, in 2009, United were the English, European and World Champions on their way to another Premier League title. They had Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney up front.
Those days seem a long time ago.
Mourinho was honest, but he will not have pleased over 40,000 United fans present when he said: “If I was them (fans) I wouldn’t spend my money to come and watch these teams.”
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Liverpool, in contrast, is still a football club in enveloped in optimism. The run to May’s Uefa Champions League final gave them a huge lift, one which has been maintained by the transfer window activity which has seen Alisson Becker, Naby Keita, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri join the club in transfers worth £175 million (Dh842.3m).
Klopp inspires those around him and he even met up with fans two nights before the game at a supporters run event in Detroit.
His players were the better side in the first half and a Mo Salah header after eight minutes was tipped over the bar by Lee Grant.
Sadio Mane opened the scoring with a 26th minute penalty, awarded after Demi Mitchell tripped Salah.
United were soon level though thanks to a 31st minute free-kick from Andreas Pereira which curled around Liverpool’s wall.
Pereira, who grew up watching the free-kicks of his Brazilian compatriot Juninho Pernambucano for Lyon, had asked Alexis Sanchez for permission to take it.
Mourinho, who has concerns over the fitness of several players and revealed that Nemanja Matic has had surgery and will miss the start of the season, gave a debut to new Brazilian signing Fred.
Mourinho expects five of the players who started to go on loan this season and moves should serve Axel Tuanzebe, Demetri Mitchell and Timothy-Fosu Mensah well, but there must be a strong case for Pereira staying at Old Trafford, which the Belgian-born Brazilian desires.
The 22-year-old, who has excelled in the previous two pre-seasons for United before going on loan to Granada and Valencia in the Primera Liga, feels ready to play for United’s first team.
The score was 1-1 at half-time, though Grant was again needed to save from Virgil Van Dijk after 43 minutes. Liverpool’s second goal came after 64 minutes when Xherdan Shaqiri held off Eric Bailly with his back to goal, fed the ball to Daniel Sturridge who squeezed a shot in off the post.
Both debutant Shaqiri and Sturridge were excellent, as was Saido Mane.
Liverpool made it 3-1 after 72 minutes after Ander Herrera fouled Andy Robertson and Sheyi Ojo converted the penalty. Liverpool’s fourth was their most spectacular, an 81st minute overhead kick from Shaqiri.
“Shaqiri was good,” said his delighted manager. “That is not normal. He adapted well to the style of play.”
As the United players trudged up the field and up the tunnel underneath the vast bowl of a stadium, Liverpool’s did a lap of honour to salute their fans.
Their approach has been different to United’s on this tour and the Uefa Champions League runners-up brought former heroes including Robbie Fowler and Ian Rush to speak to fans before the game.
Mourinho’s mood is very different. He would like to bring more talent in before the transfer window closes on August 9.
“I would like to have two more players, I think I am not going to have two,” he said. “I think it is possible that I am going to have one.
"I gave a list to my club with 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, it’s not. If it is possible then good, if it is not possible then we keep fighting and working and believing in the players that we have.”
Marcus Rashford and Phil Jones will return early. Mourinho needs all the help he can get at the moment, while Liverpool are looking strong as they attempt to become champions of England for the first time since 1990.