Manchester United will face a series of familiar opponents in the build-up to the start of the 2018-19 season – and none more so than their fierce North West rivals Liverpool.
United’s pre-season preparations are following a well-trodden path which takes them across the Atlantic for the first five of their six scheduled fixtures, three of them easily reached from their initial base of California.
As was the case last year, the Red Devils’ first two matches will be against teams from North America and on Thursday July 19 they begin in Phoenix, Arizona against Mexican side Club America, whom they met three years ago and beat 1-0 with a goal from Morgan Schneiderlin.
Three days later, at the Levi’s Stadium in the San Francisco Bay Area, United take on MLS team San Jose Earthquakes. Again, it’s like turning the clock back to 2015 when Louis van Gaal’s side won 3-1 against the Earthquakes on exactly the same July 22 date, their goalscorers that time including Juan Mata.
Then begins United’s participation in the 2018 International Champions Cup, with their first test being against AC Milan at the home stadium of LA Galaxy. These clubs have been European champions 10 times between them but have not met since 2009-10 when United won their Champions League round-of-16 tie 7-2 on aggregate.
After that, Jose Mourinho and his squad start travelling gradually further east on the way home and stop off in Ann Arbor to face Liverpool in the 107,000-capacity University of Michigan Stadium for what is sure to be a raucous and highly competitive occasion.
The last stop for United in the USA is Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium where they play Real Madrid for the third time in five International Champions Cup campaigns, the Spanish giants having won on penalties last year whereas the Red Devils prevailed 3-1 in 2014.
Finally, five days before they open the 2018-19 Premier League season at home to Leicester City, United pay a visit to Germany to meet Bayern Munich, four years after they last went to the Allianz Arena and bowed out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage.
Manchester United 2018-19 pre-season fixture schedule
Thursday July 19, 03:00 BST (Fri): Club America vs Manchester United (in Phoenix)
Sunday July 22, 22:00 BST: San Jose Earthquakes vs Manchester United (in Santa Clara)
Wednesday July 25, 04:05 BST (Thu): Manchester United vs AC Milan (in Los Angeles)
Saturday July 28, 22:05 BST: Manchester United vs Liverpool (in Ann Arbor)
Tuesday July 31, 01:05 BST (Wed): Manchester United vs Real Madrid (in Miami)
Sunday August 5, 19:15 BST: Bayern Munich vs Manchester United