Solanke up-front and Klavan at the back: Liverpool's XI the last time they faced Man United in pre-season


Solanke up-front and Klavan at the back: Liverpool's XI the last time they faced Man United in pre-season

Liverpool vs Manchester United is one of the most played fixtures in English football, but they don’t often meet during the summer break.

That’s exactly what will happen next Tuesday though, as Liverpool play Man United in Bangkok.

It’s a big game wherever it takes place in the world, and the fans will no doubt be right up for it. There’s added significance too, as it represents Erik ten Hag’s first game in charge at United.

The last time the two sides met in pre-season, Jose Mourinho was in the dug out for the Red Devils. Just like this time around, Jurgen Klopp was coming off the back of a Champions League final defeat as The Reds headed to “The Big House” in Ann Arbour. Here’s how Liverpool lined up in-front of over 100,000 fans in July 2018.

Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images


Of Liverpool’s five defenders and goalkeeper that day, only one still remains at the club. Thankfully, that man is Virgil Van Dijk. The Dutchman was embarking on his first pre-season at the club having joined the previous January.

Virgil started alongside cult-hero Ragnar Klavan at the back. Klavan was a solid presence for Liverpool, but didn’t see out the summer at Anfield. The then 32-year-old was sold to Cagliari around a month later.

Andy Robertson’s signing had been announced a week earlier, but the Scotsman was only on the bench for this one. Instead, Alberto Moreno got the nod at left-back.

Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Completing the back four was promising young defender Rafa Camacho. Much was expected of the then 18-year-old, but he wasn’t able to kick on following his chance in pre-season. After making just two appearances for Liverpool, he joined Sporting Lisbon in 2019.

Another who was full of promise was goalkeeper Kamil Grabara. The Pole began this game before being replaced by a certain Caoimhin Kelleher.


Liverpool’s three-man midfield contains half of the four players still at the club four years on from this game.

In July 2018 Fabinho was still in the early stages of his Liverpool career and was looking a little wobbly to say the least. He started at the base of midfield for this one as he began his journey to becoming the best holding midfielder around.

Photo by Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

On either side of him were James Milner and Adam Lallana. Milner of course, continues to keep going, and is now heading into his eighth season at Anfield having recently signed a contract extension.

Lallana was something of a rare sighting – he played only 15 games in the previous season, and only 16 in the following one. He started here, though.


With a few unfamiliar faces in the rest of the team, Liverpool’s attack that day was a little more run-of-the-mill.

Photo by Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Mohamed Salah started alongside Sadio Mane, who scored a first-half penalty to put Liverpool into the lead.

Spear-heading the Liverpool attack was Dominic Solanke, who was soon to be out of the door himself. The forward was disappointing at Liverpool, scoring only once in 27 games. Now twenty-four, he has found his feet at Bournemouth, firing them back to the Premier League last season.

Adding to Mane’s penalty, all the Liverpool scorers came from the bench. Daniel Sturridge, Sheyi Ojo and a magnificent debut bicycle kick from Xherdan Shaqiri gave Liverpool a 4-1 win. How times have changed.

Liverpool’s XI vs Man United 28th July 2018: Grabara; Camacho, Klavan, Van Dijk, Moreno; Fabinho; Milner, Lallana; Salah, Solanke, Mane

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