Erik ten Hag got off to a good start as Manchester United manager, as Fred scored an exquisite chip in a 4-0 friendly win over rivals Liverpool in Bangkok.
After a fortnight of hard work on the training ground, the newly appointed Dutchman will have appreciated a lot of what he saw in the muggy Thai city on Tuesday evening.
Ten Hag will not get carried away, given that Liverpool trailed United in preseason training and began with a far less experienced team, but there were undoubtedly encouraging flashes of quality and promise.
Facundo Pellistri won the Bangkok Century Cup with goals from Jadon Sancho, Fred, and Anthony Martial in a frantic first half at the two-thirds-full Rajamangala Stadium.
On a night when Fred’s goal was the highlight, Ten Hag got off to a strong start, meeting a weak clearance with an audacious right-footed chip from 20 yards that went over Brazil teammate Alisson Becker in the Liverpool goal.
Before the game, popstar Jackson Wang was the major attraction, and his performance was followed by an exuberant welcome for these opposing clubs.
Story of the match
Jurgen Klopp’s side came close to scoring early on when Luis Diaz tested David De Gea, but United scored in the 12th minute when Sancho fired home after Liverpool failed to stop a wonderful team move.
Summer addition Fabio Carvalho and Diaz both struck the crossbar in short succession after Luke Chambers had a chance.
The fun theme continued until United expanded their lead in spectacular fashion.
Following the breakdown of an assault, Fred spotted a weak clearance and deftly lifted the ball over Alisson from the edge of the area.
On the half-hour mark, Liverpool completely rotated their outfield players and fell farther behind.
Martial, who had returned after a failed loan spell at Sevilla, won the ball from Rhys Williams and continued to elevate past Alisson.
United came out for the second half with a fresh outfield lineup, including newly signed left-back Tyrell Malacia, who made his debut appearance for the club.
Another Uruguayan was celebrating the evening’s final goal. Eric Bailly’s driving run from the back resulted in Amad Diallo playing back to Pellistri, who had returned from a loan spell at Alaves, and he struck into the bottom corner.
Salah hit the post and Nunez missed the follow-up as Liverpool searched for a consolation goal that did not come despite the fact that they ended the match on top!
‘I’m satisfied today,’ Ten Hag told MUTV. ‘It was a team with a great spirit and we know we are just getting started.’