Manchester United start Eric ten Hag era by thrashing Liverpool in pre-season friendly

Goals from Sancho, Fred, Martial and Pellistri earn Dutch manager win in Bangkok Century Cup

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Eric ten Hag started his reign as Manchester United manager with a 4-0 thrashing of old rivals Liverpool in a pre-season friendly in Thailand.

United were quick out of the blocks scoring three first-half goals through Jadon Sancho, Fred and Anthony Martial, while Facundo Pellistri completed the scoring after the break in front of more than 50,000 fans at the Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok.

Liverpool looked jaded and on the back foot for much of the match against a United team with superior fitness who capitalised on a series of first-half errors with three goals in the space of 21 minutes.

Reds manager Jurgen Klopp made 21 changes across the 90 minutes, including half-hour cameos for new signings Darwin Nunez and Fabio Carvalho.

“I am satisfied today. It was a team with a great sprit and we know we are just getting started,” Ten Hag said to MUTV after the match.

“We made some mistakes in the press, we conceded some chances, but we created a lot. We have to work hard to cut out the mistakes but of course we are happy.

“I know we have good players. We have started to build a team and I am happy with the first game.

“It will take a lot of time. I have seen a lot of mistakes. Liverpool played three teams, they were not at their strongest. We will not overestimate this result.

“But still, I have seen some really good things. A lot of speed and creativity up front.”

Former Borussia Dortmund attacker Sancho opened the scoring after 12 minutes with a confident finish into the bottom right corner after the Liverpool defence failed to deal with a Bruno Fernandes cross.

Liverpool came close to an equaliser soon after when Carvalho's shot beat goalkeeper David de Gea and cannoned off the far post, with Luis Diaz latching on to the ball in the ensuing scramble and also hitting the upright.

But United remained in control, with chances for Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay troubling Liverpool. And it was 2-0 on the half-hour mark after a cracking finish from midfielder Fred following a fine attacking move from United.

Fernandez and Martial linked up well before laying the ball off to back to the Brazilian on the edge of the box, and he clipped a deft finish over Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker.

Straight after Fred's goal, Klopp made 10 changes to his Liverpool team and moments later, United had a third.

Martial, who claimed the man of the match award, dispossessed substitute Rhys Williams and coolly lifted the ball over the advancing Alisson. Diogo Dalot almost added a fourth when his angled shot struck the post.

Liverpool improved after the break with the introduction of £85 million ($105m) striker Nunez and Golden Boot winner Mohamed Salah, who was left frustrated late on after being denied by De Gea and the woodwork.

The final goal was scored, against the run of play, 14 minutes from time when 20-year Uruguayan Pellistri latched on to an Eric Bailly pass on the counter attack and converted with ease after a one-two with Amad Diallo.

Updated: July 12, 2022, 4:03 PM
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