By Stuart Howard-Cofield
Two of the main contenders for the top four positions in the English Premier League, Manchester United and Liverpool, have recorded relatively impressive results in their preseason tours. After a couple of major signings this summer, both sides will be pleased with how preparations have gone during tours across the globe before the new campaign kicks off.
Louis Van Gaal’s team began their tour on a positive note by defeating Club America by a lone goal. Thereafter, they defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 3-1. Barcelona, the current Champions League title holders were also beaten by the same margin.
Manchester United’s preseason tour results have shown that one of their new arrivals, Memphis Depay can connect very well with the veteran centre forward, Wayne Rooney. According to a recent analysis of The Red Devils’ tour performance published in the Telegraph, United’s defensive line has now become more secure with Luke Shaw and Matteo Darmian putting up impressive performances so far.
Without any major injury cases to worry about at this time, Louis Van Gaal simply needs to find a good backup for Wayne Rooney. Unfortunately, Rooney is the only experienced centre forward in the team. Bastian Schweinsteiger, the European Champions Cup and World Cup winner displayed a stellar performance in midfield during the tour and looks an excellent addition. But United must not take the same risk they took in the 2014/15 season, as a bad start eventually cost them the league title by some margin.
Manchester United must do everything possible to win their first ten games if they want to clinch the league title and steal a march on their rivals. All eyes will be on Schweinsteiger and Rooney as they strive to pump in the goals in the first few games. Ticketbis.net is offering Premier League tickets for sale including the match between United and their fierce rivals Liverpool as they battle for the UEFA Champions League slots.
Liverpool fans should also be excited their tour as they’ve gone unbeaten through preseason. They defeated three of their opponents including the Thailand All-Stars, Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United. They were then held to a 1-1 draw with Malaysia XI and have since beaten HJK and Swindon Town. Although some commentators have said that none of their opponents were strong enough to match the stiff opposition they will face in the Premier League, Liverpool have shown that they are serious about finishing among the top four in the new season after last year’s disappointment.
Liverpool have made so many new signings this summer in a bid to revive the game plan of Brendan Rodgers which enabled them to get very close to taking the league title in the 2013/14 season. Christian Benteke is a star signing, while James Milner and Nathaniel Clyne add drive to the attack from deeper. Roberto Firmino, who left Hoffenheim to join Liverpool, should be able to use his experience in the Bundesliga to create plenty of chances for his teammates.
However, Rodgers needs to address the weaknesses in the centre of defence and settle down with a stable playing pattern in order to get the best out of the new signings. Benteke and Firmino did not travel on tour with the Reds so it’s difficult to give an objective assessment of how well they will fit into the team but both will be expected to be regular starters in a new-look Liverpool lineup.
Both Manchester United and Liverpool must ensure that they can decide their best starting lineups early as both will look to be at their best to win most of their matches and remain unbeaten for as many games as possible when the new season starts on Saturday.