One friendly down and Manchester United need a keeper and Liverpool ‘transfer gamble backfires’

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Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea Credit: PA Images
Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea Credit: PA Images

Manchester United won 4-0 but there must be a negative, while Liverpool need to find a midfield solution apparently…


Searching for the negative
Manchester United beat Liverpool 4-0 on Tuesday in a friendly that was largely meaningless unless you are looking for Manchester United positives ahead of the new season, and there were just enough positives to get slightly giddy about.

One of those positives according to those who watched the full 90 minutes was David De Gea actually coming off his line, with Erik Ten Hag seemingly fixing his career-long reluctance to leave the comfort of the six-yard box in a matter of days. Wizardry.

But too many Manchester United positives do not good business make and certainly do not good clicks make so…

‘David de Gea hands Erik ten Hag his first major problem at Man Utd in opening game’

And what was this ‘first major problem’ (that’s clearly not his first, as Ronaldo presents a slightly bigger problem) from a game in which De Gea looked excellent and kept a clean sheet, Mirror Football?

‘Manchester United’s decision to allow Dean Henderson to leave the club on loan could now prove costly after David de Gea was forced out of pre-season action early with an injury.’

Sorry, what? Seriously, what?

‘The Spaniard was taking up his usual position between the sticks for the first friendly of the summer out in Thailand against long-time rivals Liverpool when he was replaced by back-up shot-stopper Tom Heaton mid-way through the second half.

‘It appeared as if De Gea sustained some kind of muscle strain after charging off his line to prevent a Reds goal.’

And famously, ‘some kind of muscle strain’ is very likely to keep you out for weeks if not months.

‘De Gea’s substitution marred what would have otherwise been a perfect afternoon during Ten Hag’s first game in charge. There are now concerns as to how long United’s first-choice goalkeeper will be ruled out of action for.’

Concerns among whom? Certainly, David De Gea himself seems happy enough…

Those fears are hardly eased by the fact that it was only a mere matter of weeks ago that the club confirmed they have sanctioned the temporary exit of De Gea’s deputy Henderson as the England international has joined newly-promoted Nottingham Forest on loan.’

Sometimes, just sometimes, there actually isn’t any sh*t to throw at Manchester United. But the Mirror are not about to let that get in the way of some Grade A nonsense…

‘Ten Hag has experienced enough difficulty in the transfer market so far this summer, with the month of June passing him by without making a single signing – the first time this has happened at United since the summer of 2010.’

Except it literally happened last year, when Tom Heaton became Manchester United’s first summer signing on July 2.

Incidentally, he is also a goalkeeper and can catch a ball and everything.

‘De Gea’s injury, if serious, poses Ten Hag with his first real headache as United manager and could force the Dutchman to dip into the transfer market for a new figure in goal.’

Yes, it seems perfectly reasonable that Manchester United should spend money on a new goalkeeper after De Gea suffered ‘some kind of muscle strain’ in a pre-season friendly.


Tell it like it is
Elsewhere on the Mirror website, ‘Alex Telles sends message after being unleashed in new Man Utd role by Erik ten Hag’.

Which is a hell of a way to spin Telles saying ‘Work hard and keep focus. Thank You’ on Twitter.


So Manchester United are already paying for the sale of Dean Henderson, but at least they haven’t had their entire transfer policy negated by a 4-0 defeat in pre-season:

‘Jurgen Klopp drops hint over Liverpool’s midfield plan as transfer gamble backfires’

Not buying a central midfielder really did backfire on United as they played Manchester United in a pre-season friendly and were torn apart in the first half while playing a midfield of Jordan Henderson, Tyler Morton and Fabio Carvalho.

But it seems that one of the few positives Liverpool fans can take from the game is that ‘Klopp’s midfield intentions did become a little clearer’.

‘Having seemingly failed to fill the midfield void in this window, the Reds boss has been left to think up alternatives. And on Tuesday, in Bangkok’s eye-catching Rajamangala National Stadium, hints were dropped over the back-up plan of next season.

‘A total of 32 players were deployed by the German against United, with the 10 outfielders being rotated at 30-minute intervals, but one stood out above the rest. His name? Harvey Elliott.’

The idea that Klopp has been left ‘thinking up alternatives’ by a failure to sign a central midfielder is quite something. Especially if the answer is Elliott, who started four Premier League games and one Champions League clash with Inter Milan in literally that position last season. And would have started far more had he not suffered a pretty bad injury. This is not a new idea.

‘The effervescent Elliott does indeed provide Klopp with a flexible option in midfield, who is evidently unfazed by whatever comes his way. Having failed to capture a commanding midfielder this summer, it seems Liverpool may indeed need to call upon the youngster more next season – and in more important matches that this. While the Reds may well have preferred the midfield responsibility to fall on the shoulders of a more high-profile name next campaign, it looks as thought Elliott will emerge as the alternative and trusted option in the centre of the park.’

It really does. Though that has f*** all to do with a backfiring transfer gamble and everything to do with Klopp deciding last year that he would like to use Elliott as a midfielder.

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