MIAMI: Louis Van Gaal, whatever his concerns over the breadth of Manchester United’s pre-season trip to the United States, steered through on a positive note as they won the International Champions Cup final by 3-1 over Premier League rivals Liverpool.
A Steven Gerrard penalty gave Liverpool the lead, but Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard replied for United in front of a 50,000 crowd. Van Gaal said: “It’s nice for the fans in the USA and also at home that we beat Liverpool.”
Midfielder Gerrard scored from a penalty in the 14th minute after defender Phil Jones brought down winger Raheem Sterling. But striker Rooney, captaining United, scored a superb equaliser – and his third goal of the competition – after 55 minutes from a Javier Hernandez cross.
Mata gave his side the lead just two minutes later and fellow midfielder Lingard rounded off the victory near the end.
Rooney was named player of the tournament and Van Gaal singled out the England striker for special praise, describing him as a “winner”.
The former Holland manager added: “He deserved to be player of the tournament because he scored a lot of goals and gave a lot of assists.”
Despite the defeat, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was pleased overall with his side, saying: “I thought it was an excellent run-out for us. Obviously we’re disappointed to lose the game, but it’s been a great trip.”
Rodgers also confirmed Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho, 22, had been offered a new deal, adding: “He is someone we want to tie up for a period of time.”
Liverpool beat Olympiakos in Chicago, Premier League champions Manchester City on penalties in New York and AC Milan in Charlotte to reach the final of the International Champions Cup, which featured eight leading European clubs.
United overcame Italian sides Roma and Inter Milan in Denver and Washington respectively, before beating Real Madrid in front of a record US crowd of 109,318 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The new Premier League season starts on 16 August.
Manchester United: De Gea, Evans (Blackett 45), Smalling, Jones, Valencia (Shaw 8), Herrera (Lingard 78), Fletcher (Cleverley 45), Young, Mata (Kagawa 69), Rooney, Hernandez (Nani 69).
Liverpool: Mignolet, Kelly, Johnson, Skrtel, Sakho (Toure 74), Gerrard (Lucas 62), Allen (Can 62), Henderson, Coutinho (Peterson 77), Lambert (Ibe 62), Sterling.