Fletcher and Rooney return to the podium to accept the tournament trophy. They must have exhausted their firework supply before the game, as all they get is some grandiose classical music, but they look happy enough. The Fox commentator hails Van Gaal as a tactical genius and predicts all sorts of glory for this Manchester United team.

All games between these two clubs are interesting, regardless of the circumstances. How much this means to either team in the grand scheme of things is debatable, but in the next few days, you’ll only hear one set of fans insisting that this game matters.


That’s all from me - thanks for your emails and tweets, and thanks for reading. Goodnight!

Rooney has been given the trophy for the tournament’s most valuable player. It looks a little unimpressive, like a clear glass thing you’d get at a shoe shop or something. He thanks the fans and shuffles off.

Well, that’s that. United will obviously be happier, but both teams will take some comfort from the match. For the whole first half, Liverpool looked completely untroubled, but whatever Van Gaal did at half time worked, and after the one-two punch of the Rooney and Mata goals, Liverpool never really threatened.


If they set off fireworks before the match even starts, I can’t wait to see what they do when they hand over the trophy.

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FULL TIME

PEEP! PEEP! PEEP! Louis Van Gaal is still unbeaten, and Manchester United have something for their trophy cabinet.

92 min: Liverpool come alive, but it’s too late. What it’s not too late for, though, is for Ibe to show off some more of his fancy footwork. He obliges.

90 min: That was a great finish, but Liverpool again allowed the United players too much space and time. An invigorated Ashley Young (whose cross created the goal, by the way) presses down the right wing and wins a throw-in.

GOAL Liverpool 1-3 Manchester United (Lingard 88)

88 min: That’s the title! Kagawa miscontrols the ball, but Lingard’s there to pick up the pieces. He takes one touch, then drives it past Mignolet from just outside the area. The keeper had no chance. The United players seem delighted. This game means something.

86 min: Liverpool look knackered. Perhaps it’s the oppressive Florida heat, but with so many substitutes available, they should do better. Can tussles with Young near the United corner flag, and it goes out for a goal kick.

85 min: United play it around on the ground to slow things down. Liverpool don’t seem that keen to press, but eventually force De Gea into a clearance.

83 min: It’s end to end stuff, but not in the good way. The keepers exchange long kicks, perhaps auditioning for the Miami Dolphins punter role.

81 min: A corner for Liverpool, and somehow Nani contrives not to clear despite having plenty of time. The ball back in from Toure to Kelly doesn’t quite come fast enough, though, and United eventually clear.

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80 min: Rooney finds Kagawa in space on the left. He drills it back into the area back towards Rooney, who slices the ball and it flies to safety. That’s the sort of ground-ball attack that United had almost abandoned under Moyes last year.

80 min: More substitutions, this time Lingard for Herrera. These breaks in play really slow things down - which I suppose is probably part of Van Gaal’s masterplan.

78 min: A nice backheel almost puts Liverpool into a good position, but Ibe can’t quite control it and it bounces off his knee and out of play. Now Coutinho’s coming off for Peterson. Coutinho’s been the best player on the pitch tonight - he’s always looked like a threat when he’s had the ball.

75 min: Sakho comes off for Toure. His first action is to boot the ball long. It doesn’t work, and United recover the ball. Ibe wins it back and tries to take on several players again, but runs into a dead end near the corner flag. He’s looked lively since coming on.

72 min: Kagawa almost feeds Rooney the ball just outside the Liverpool area, but there’s just too much on the ball. The match is now being played almost entirely in the middle third, but United are still controlling it.

70 min: Like all good neutrals, I’d love to see this go to penalties. Unfortunately, Liverpool look as unimaginative as United did in the first half. Henderson feeds Ibe the ball out wide, who tries to take them all on, with the predictable result that he eventually loses the ball. It’s an admirable approach, though.

68 min: Can tries to run at the United defence and gets nowhere and the ball ends up out of touch near the halfway line. United bring Kagawa and Nani on for Hernandez and Mata. Van Gaal looks very pleased with himself on the touchline, as well he might.

66 min: Rooney knew the ball had gone out of play and barely celebrated - but there’s no harm in trying your luck. Goalline technology seems inevitable, and if it helps avoid confusion like that, so much the better.

65 min: Bizarre scenes! United attempt a cross from range, the ball hits the stanchion behnd the goal and the ball comes back onto the field. Rooney puts it into the net hopefully, and the goal is given - but then rescinded shortly after.

63 min: Lucas has also come on for Joe Allen.

63 min: Liverpool bring Gerrard and Lambert off, and Can and Ibe come on in their place. Gerrard looks miserable. He doesn’t like losing to Man Utd.

61 min: Liverpool press hard, desperate to get back into this. This game matters. They’re still dominating possession, but all of a sudden they look scared rather than calm and collected as they were in the first half.

Liverpool are stunned. They had looked so comfortable, but two goals out of nowhere have made this into a real competition.

The first goal was something special from United, but the second was entirely Liverpool’s fault. You can’t give anyone that much time in the box, and certainly not Juan Mata.

GOAL Liverpool 1-2 Manchester United (Mata 57)

And another! Mata scores with a deflected shot. He was in acres of space in the box, but it was going in even if Sakho hadn’t got in the way.

That was a stunning finish from a great cross. It’s the only thing of note that United have achieved in this game, but they’re level now and won’t care.

GOAL Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United (Rooney 55)

55 min: What a finish! Hernandez puts a beautiful ball into the box and Rooney sidefoots it across Mignolet into the far corner of the net.

53 min: Coutinho and Sterling combine again to get the ball into the United box. Nothing comes of it, but those two have looked like a great combination in this game.

52 min: Rooney puts a dangerous ball into the box, but Liverpool clear. Luke Shaw is then booked for a kerfuffle in Liverpool’s area - I’m afraid I missed who his victim was.

51 min: More information from Marie Meyer:

The prize money for this competition works out to 13 days of Wayne Rooney’s salary.

49 min: United are exposed by a Coutinho pass to Sterling, but his shot is deflected just wide of the post for a corner. Gerrard swings it in, but without much menace and United clear.

In other news, Blackett also came on for Evans at half time.

48 min: Lambert has a go, but De Gea gets down and saves easily. Then, at the other end, Shaw loops a ball right into Mignolet’s arms.

46 min: And we’re back! What will Van Gaal have told his players? Will it have worked? Cleverley has come on for Fletcher, which is probably a good move, the way he was playing.

Ian Copestake wonders what’s behind the disappearance of Markovic:

Is he as lazy in training as his reputation has suggested and thus been ditched till he gets a haircut and runs around cones more enthusiastically?

All theories gratefully accepted.

Alec McAulay wonders whether the Glasers or John Henry are at the game. I haven’t seen any shots of them so far, but the Red Sox aren’t playing today, and NFL season doesn’t start for a few weeks yet, so they might have found time to come down.


Incidentally, John Henry owned the Florida Marlins, formerly of this stadium, from 1999 to 2002, managing to miss out on both of their World Series-winning years. He got three with Boston in 2004, 2007 and 2013, though, so he’s probably not that sore about it.

Meanwhile, at the donut shop

Liverpool have played well, but United have been pretty dreadful. If Carrick’s going to be out for a few months, Fletcher’s going to have to work on his distribution from the centre. When they had it in defence, they looked uncomfortable, and when they had it in Liverpool’s half, they looked as though they didn’t know what to do.

For Liverpool’s part, they’ll be pretty happy. While they created very few chances, they rarely seemed in danger of conceding. Sterling always looked threatening going forward, and Gerrard has been putting himself about all over the pitch.

HALF TIME Liverpool 1-0 Manchester United

45 min: Liverpool play out time. The fans don’t like it and whistle. And that’s the whistle. The teams go in for the break, and Liverpool will be a lot happier with the way things have gone so far.

44 min: Every time United push forward, Liverpool force them to play it back. Young manages to get a cross in, but it finds a sea of yellow and Mignolet collects easily.

42 min: Mata finds Hernandez in a dangerous area, but he loses the ball. Sterling has a shot from range, but it’s straight at De Gea.

39 min: United look bereft of inspiration. Liverpool are controlling the tempo and about two thirds of the field - the Hernandez chance aside, United have struggled to create much. Van Gaal’s going to have to have some stern words at half time. Perhaps he’ll drop his trousers to inspire them.

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37 min: Ashley Young puts in a decent cross from the right wing, but an airborne Mignolet gets his enormous hands to it and punches it to safety.

35 min: De Gea punches it away - he loves a punch - and United break. Mata and Gerrard come together - sort of - and now it’s United’s turn to waste a promising free kick. The tempo’s really picked up in the last few minutes. This game means something.

34 min: United give it away just outside their own area. The ball falls to Sterling, who falls over in the area, but the referee wags his finger at him telling him to get up. Sterling is then brought down just outside the area and Liverpool have a free kick.

32 min: Several emails and tweets point out that if Man Utd players timed their tackles properly, they might not concede so many penalties (see 20 min). A fair point, but it’s interesting that this has been such a problem against Liverpool in particular recently.

30 min: As the commentator uses the word spicy for the nth time in the match, Liverpool continue to pass it around the United players. United seem happy for now to wait for the ball to come to them - what shade of pink will Van Gaal have to turn before they start to press harder?

28 min: United win a free kick after Young finds his way onto the ground. Liverpool bring everyone back and the ball falls to Fletcher. He tries a backheel, but misses most of the ball and Liverpool scramble it clear.

26 min: Replays show Jones did actually get some of the ball in the challenge that resulted in the penalty. I still don’t think he can have too many complaints about the decision - he wasn’t in control and took a lot of the man as well.

24 min: Great save! De Gea gets down low at his near post to block a Coutinho shot. Coutinho had cleverly jinked around the defender and driven it in low, and must have thought that was on its way in. Liverpool get a corner, but nothing comes of it.

23 min: Mata finds himself behind the line of defence, but screws his cross high over the bar. It might have got him three points if this had been an NFL game.

20 min: Marie Meyer emails in to point out that Liverpool have now been awarded five penalties in 75 minutes of play against Manchester United. They’ll take them however they come.

19 min: Fletcher’s radar is off today - he can’t seem to hit anyone. Even when United to press forward, they are immediately surrounded by yellow shirts and bullied into retreat.

16 min: Can United respond quickly? Not if Liverpool keep passing it around the back to frustrate them. They’ve had far the better of this game so far, Hernandez’s chance notwithstanding.

Sterling had lost control of the ball, but Jones went in far too hard and didn’t seem to get any of the ball - he thinks he’s been hard done by, but you can’t take risks like that in the penalty area. It’s a fair decision.

GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Manchester United (Gerrard 14 (pen))

Gerrard goes left, De Gea goes the other way, and it’s 1-0 to Liverpool!

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Penalty

12 min: Liverpool keep trying to work it into the United box, but their runs are, so far, just too late. Liverpool look dangerous here, though, and they’ve won a penalty! Sterling ran into the box and Phil Jones brought him down.

9 min: Liverpool win a free kick in a dangerous area. Who’s going to take it? Gerrard, of course. The ball bobbles around dangerously, but Henderson nods tamely over the bar. He should really have done more with that.

Luke Shaw has come on for Antonio Valencia, who looks as though he’s crying. This match means something.

8 min: More pressure from United. Young is being given a lot of space down the left - perhaps Liverpool remember what he was like last year and haven’t noticed his preseason performances so far.

6 min: A chance for United! Beautiful long ball from Hernandez to Young, who puts it back in the box. Hernandez should score, but Liverpool boot it to safety.

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5 min: Liverpool seem happy to retain possession without really pressing, and enjoy passing practice in defence for a bit. Another long ball forward comes to nothing. Cut to Van Gaal on the bench - he looks furious. He always looks furious, though.

3 min: More pressure from Liverpool, and Henderson wins a corner. Gerrard boots it straight at the first Man Utd player, and the chance is gone.

1 min: As the Fox Sports 2 commentator whips himself into a frenzy by repeating how much this game matters, the players try to play through the residual smoke. Liverpool dominate possession for the first minute before wasting a long ball down the right wing.

The odds

Liverpool: 3.5 (5/2)

Manchester United: 2.3 (5/4)

The draw: 3.5 (5/2)

Fireworks! Everywhere! Smoke all over the pitch! It looks more like the Ali Sami Yen than an NFL stadium. You don’t get that in the Community Shield.

Sad news: Liverpool aren’t wearing their amazing new third strip, instead preferring their pretty revolting yellow away kit, easily my least favourite of the three options.

Manchester United are wearing their red home kit, which is also the least interesting of this year’s selection.

Tim Smith tweets to ask whether a Champions Cup would be enough to give Van Gaal a stay of execution later in the season if things don’t go his way. I’d say this is probably worth about as much as a Community Shield in that respect - ie, not much at all. They’re only really silverware in the sense that they’re a vaguely silvery colour.

Tonight’s venue: Sun Life Stadium

Florida’s a weird place. We considered creating an “Odd news” keyword for unusual news stories, but realised it would mostly be the same as the Florida keyword page with a few stories about Germany thrown in. Anyway, Sun Life Stadium is no different - among the weirdest things to happen here was the period in 2009 when it was briefly called Land Shark Stadium as the result of a naming deal with novelty singer Jimmy Buffett.

Some pretty cool sporting stuff has happened here too. Here, in reverse order, are the three coolest sporting things ever to happen here:

3. This year’s England-Honduras World Cup warmup was postponed by a lightning storm, and Adrian Chiles was forced to commentate on images he couldn’t see. He responded by talking about “some stoic English and, er, English and, er, and Hondurans. Just sitting there, just sitting there, and, er, sitting there.”


2. The ground was home to the Florida Marlins from 1993 to 2011, which included the 1997 and 2003 World Series-winning years. This moment is when the Marlins won their first Fall Classic in only their fifth year of existence, as Edgar Renteria singled in the bottom of the 11th inning and the crowd went wild (where are they now, those fairweather fans?):

1. Joe Montana’s 92-yard drive to win the Super Bowl for the 49ers. Trailing by 3 points with 3:10 on the clock, Montana marched down the length of the field and threw a perfect touchdown pass to earn the third of his four Super Bowls.

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Liverpool are trying to buy their way to success, throwing £47m Southampton’s way for all their players beginning with L: Lallana, Lovren and Lambert. They also spent around another £40m for Can, World Cup surprise package Origi and Markovic. Of course, most of this was paid for by getting rid of pariah liability striker Luis Suarez for £75m.

United have also spent big, buying Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw for a combined £56m, but haven’t made much back. They also have a new manager in Louis van Gaal, who should make this season interesting regardless of how successful they are. If they fail, they’ll fail gloriously.

They’re unbeaten under him so far, so we could still be on for a repeat of his 94/5 season with Ajax, when they went unbeaten in the league and in Europe. Anything is still possible. That’s probably what he’s saying in this shot.

Team news

Manchester United: De Gea, Evans, Smalling, Jones, Valencia, Herrera, Fletcher, Young; Mata, Rooney, Hernandez

Liverpool: Mignolet, Kelly, Johnson, Skrtel, Sakho, Gerrard, Allen, Henderson, Coutinho, Lambert, Sterling.

Mark Geiger is the man in black. (Thanks, @EdBellion, for the correction)

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Why are we here?

Does anybody really care about these meaningless summer competitions? Aren’t we supposed to be watching cricket, tennis, baseball and all the other sports that stop when it rains? Do you even remember who won this thing last year? (It was Real Madrid, but I had to look it up.) This, as a wise man once said, is the season for reading papers, for river walkways, for staying up all night.

Well, if you’re in Europe, staying up all night could well be worthwhile, because even in this preseason morass of meaningless football, when Liverpool play Manchester United, it always means something. Winning a preseason tournament might not be worth a lot, but there’s more thana cup at stake here. Nobody wants to lose this game.

Will there be excitement? Maybe. Animosity? Possibly. Penalties? Quite likely. And if that isn’t enough to get you interested, never mind - it’s only a couple of weeks till the season starts.

To see how much this game means to Brendan Rodgers, have a look at this article:

Though it has been billed as friendly, both Manchester United and Liverpool are determined to bring their Premier League rivalry into their International Champions Cup final meeting in Miami on Monday evening.

The Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has called the fixture “arguably the biggest game in the world” while the Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher called it “a big deal”.

“It’s more than football. It’s life. It is two cities, not very far apart, but historically they have always been huge rivals,” said Rodgers. “It’s arguably the biggest game in the world and for it to be here in the United States is wonderful for the supporters and the organisers. They are the two biggest clubs in Britain and two of the biggest in the world so it will be a fantastic game and we are looking forward to it.

More here.