International Champions Cup talking points: Xherdan Shaqiri, Alvaro Morata take their chance
It was a busy night as Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham were all in pre-season action. We note the key talking points…
Reds head over heels with Shaqiri
If this 45-minute cameo is a sign of things to come, Jurgen Klopp may have picked up a bargain for £13m. The former Stoke City winger was eager to impress when unleashed in the second half and looked very much at home in his new colours. Playing just behind the striker, it seemed he was given licence to roam, which suits his maverick style.
Although he has a tendency to go missing in games, he was at the forefront of this one, grabbing an assist when setting up Daniel Sturridge for his strike. After a clever burst, Shaqiri was found by Rafa Camacho and the Swiss international showed his awareness to set up Sturridge, whose finish was very impressive. The best was yet to come for Shaqiri as he produced a moment of individual brilliance that will have endeared him to Liverpool fans around the world. Ben Woodburn chipped the ball in and Shaqiri met the cross with a flying overhead kick that ended up in the top corner.
Liverpool run riot against flat Utd
Liverpool thrashed Manchester United 4-1 in the International Champions Cup
Morata: Remember me?
Alavaro Morata reminded everyone of his abilities for Chelsea in their 1-1 draw with Inter Milan. Maybe he was looking to impress his new manager or perhaps there was someone from AC Milan paying close attention in the stands. Sky sources understand Chelsea want £62m for their striker, who reportedly wants to return to play in Italy.
The forward scored just 11 goals in 31 Premier League appearances last season and lost his place to Olivier Giroud in the latter part of the campaign. But things could be different under Maurizio Sarri.
Chelsea’s best spell of the match against Inter came in the early stages when Morata was to the fore. His movement and high energy pinned the Italians back and the Blues should have been further ahead than just their one-goal advantage with 20 minutes gone. It was the striker’s industry and skill that led to Pedro’s eighth-minute opener as the Spaniard fired home after Morata’s shot was parried.
Sarri was impressed with what he saw. “In the first match Morata did not play very well, in Australia [in a 1-0 win over Perth Glory],” he said. “But tonight, especially in the first 30 minutes, he improved a lot. I am satisfied and I am very confident in him for the future.”
Chelsea edge Inter on penalties
Chelsea edged out Inter Milan 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the International Champions Cup
City’s Mahrez blow
While there were positive nights for Shaqiri and Morata, Riyad Mahrez’s chance to impress Pep Guardiola in Florida was cut short because of injury in City’s 3-2 win against Bayern Munich.
The Algeria international, who moved to the Etihad Stadium for a club record £60m from Leicester City, started brightly and thought he should have had a penalty in the fifth minute when he went to ground under a challenge from Chris Richards. The referee waved away the appeals but it was a challenge that would prove to be costly for City and Mahrez, who appeared to roll his ankle.
The 27-year-old eventually picked himself up off the ground and produced two standout moments, creating two openings for Lukas Nmecha, who was denied by Sven Ulreich and the post.
But the effects of the earlier challenge eventually caught up with him as he was replaced in the 27th minute by Bernardo Silva, who went on to impress with two goals in City’s comeback victory.
“I don’t know about Mahrez’s condition,” said Guardiola after the game. With a number of first-team regulars still absent following their World Cup exploits, Mahrez, and City, will be hoping the injury is nothing serious as he looks to establish himself with the Premier League champions ahead of the new season.
City fight back to beat Bayern
Man City came from two goals down to end International Champions Cup campaign with 3-2 victory over Bayern Munich
Sissoko setback for Spurs
With Tottenham’s resources already depleted ahead of the new Premier League season, the last thing Mauricio Pochettino wants is injuries.
Spurs remain without nine of their regular squad following the World Cup and Pochettino’s options have been further depleted after injuries to Victor Wanyama, Erik Lamela and Moussa Sissoko, who limped off with what looked like a hamstring injury in the 2-2 draw with Barcelona in California.
They will be without Heung-Min Son because of his involvement in the Asian Games and with their Premier League opener away at Newcastle on Saturday 11 August, live on Sky Sports, just around the corner, Pochettino says it is crucial that Spurs add to their squad before the transfer deadline on August 9.
“We are going to see what happens in the next few days,” said Pochettino. “But with or without injuries, I think that’s our target [to strengthen the team] to bring in some players and add some with quality who can help us to achieve our goals.”
Barca beat Spurs on penalties
New signing Malcom scored the winning penalty as Barcelona secured a 5-3 shootout victory against Tottenham
The performance of Cameron Carter-Vickers and the cameos of Oliver Skipp and Anthony Georgiou against Barcelona showed promise, but Pochettino will hope he can bring some new faces into the club and the likes of Harry Kane, Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen and Keiran Trippier can hit the ground running when they return to training following their World Cup exploits.