Liverpool Masters 2 Man Utd Masters 0: Reds exact revenge for Stockholm defeat
Goals in each half by Luis Garcia and Dietmar Hamann ensured it was sweet revenge for the Reds, who lost 4-2 in a prior encounter in Stockholm, Sweden two months ago.
Both sides marched out of the tunnel to a rousing reception, with fans expectant of a game worthy of the occasion.
Liverpool put out a strong line-up, with Champions League-winning goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek in goal, Vladimir Smicer, Patrik Berger, Steve McManaman and Garcia in midfield, while Robbie Fowler and Ian Rush started up front in a strike force which has netted a combined 529 goals for the Reds.
Meanwhile Man United’s starting eleven was not too shabby as well, with 1999 Champions League winner Ronny Johnsen marshalling the defence, Lee Sharpe, Quinton Fortune and Karel Poborsky in midfield, while former French international Louis Saha led the attack.
It was Saha who had the first real chance of the night on 12 minutes when found by a neat low right-wing cross by Poborsky, but he somehow contrived to lash over from close range.
At the other end, the Reds were much more clinical in front of goal with Garcia showing how it was done four minutes later.
Jan Kromkamp lofted a superb cross into the box for Garcia, who timed his jump well to loop a header beyond a stranded Nick Culkin in the United goal.
The Red Devils were looking to hit right back, but were met with strong resistance from their Liverpool counterparts.
Saha and Fortune were brought down by Berger and Stephane Henchoz respectively in good shooting positions – showing the level of competitiveness in what was supposed to an exhibition match.
Liverpool ended the half 1-0 up, sparking the United legends to produce a spirited response after the break.
Keith Gillespie’s fierce snapshot was tipped over by Dudek, before Poborsky’s header from Jesper Blomqvist’s left-wing cross flew just off-target.
Saha also continued to create space upfront, but was unable to put away his chances.
At the other end, the Reds should have doubled their lead when Kromkamp’s cross was laid on a platter for Fowler to convert at the far post, but the man dubbed ‘God’ by the Liverpool faithful fired into the side netting.
Russian winger Andrei Kanchelskis was then brought on for the final 20 minutes, but there was nothing the Red Devils could do to breach the sturdy Liverpool backline.
The game was duly put to bed nine minutes from time when a corner from the left was only half-cleared into the path of a lurking Hamann.
The German midfielder wasted little time in lashing home a 25-yard belter into the bottom right corner past a helpless Culkin.
The final whistle soon went with the Reds going home 2-0 winners and with a trophy to show for.