19th October, 2019
Just a few years back, the up-coming British Premier League clash between Manchester United and Liverpool would have been regarded as a top billing game for the weekend that will have been considered in the same group with an “El-Clasico”.
Unfortunately, while things have considerably improved at the Liverpool end, the recent happenings at the Old Trafford leaves a whole lot to be deserved.
As a matter of fact, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his Manchester United side host Jurgen Klopp’s high-flying Liverpool, knowing that a victory could turn the Red Devils’ season on its head.
ManU in spite of the fact that they picked up impressive victories over Chelsea and Leicester already this season – wins that displayed both their attacking and defensive capabilities – are currently sitting 12th in the Premier League table and without a win since the victory over the Foxes a month ago.
As they lost out to Newcastle last time out, we saw a United void of any attacking ideas, with midfielders failing to break Newcastle’s lines and Juan Mata – the number ten – a shadow of his once brilliant self.
As funny as it sounds, it was Harry Maguire who looked like United’s greatest attacking threat – that’s right, – a centre-back. Maguire was able to progress the ball like no other United player, especially in the first half, and not quite unexpectedly, spurned their best chance of the game – a free header from a corner.
Even though it is true that key injuries have, of course, disrupted them, this season, but let’s get this straight, this is undoubtedly the worst United side of the Premier League era and ultimately, the top-four seems a long way away at the moment.
A good result against the early table-toppers on Sunday will surely bring about some much-needed confidence within this United dressing room and you never know, they might be able to turn it around.
Presented below is how they should lineup for their pivotal Premier League clash against Liverpool on Sunday.
Sergio Romero (GK) – An injury to David de Gea gifts Romero the GK spot by default. The Argentine has proven he’s more than capable when he’s filled in in the past.
Diogo Dalot (RB) – Despite Aaron Wan-Bissaka nearing full fitness, he likely isn’t ready to start a this weekend, so expect Dalot to fill in.
Harry Maguire (CB) – Currently, he has to be the first name on the team sheet. Although his hefty price tag will have opposition fans critiquing his every breath, Maguire has been impressive so far this season with United conceding just eight times. Maguire showed at Newcastle he’s more than capable in possession and is also a major threat in the opposition box.
Axel Tuanzebe (CB) – The 21-year-old has looked comfortable in multiple positions since being drafted into Ole’s starting XI. With Lindelof leaving a lot to be desired, Tuanzebe is the best option to partner Maguire.
Ashley Young (LB) – I mean, he’s the captain, but he’s not very good. This is a real problem area for United at the moment, and that’s saying something. The converted winger seems scared to enter the final third and he’s not exactly a stout defender. However, despite his deficiencies, he should get the nod over Marcos Rojo.
Nemanja Matic (CDM) – Ole has to get rid of the 4-2-3-1 and match-up with Liverpool in a 4-3-3, with Matic holding. The Serb is a long way off of the player he was four years ago but he’s the only United midfielder who can pass the football with relative accuracy – when Paul Pogba’s missing. His big frame and instincts out of possession mean he’s perfect to screen the back four and make it tough for the Reds to play through United.
Scott McTominay (CM) – United’s standout performer thus far, without question. Although not the complete footballer, McTominay brings great tenacity and energy to this United midfield and his engine will be crucial in shuttling out wide to press Liverpool’s full-backs when they advance. The Scotsman’s also proved he’s handy in and around the opposition box this season as well.
Juan Mata (CM) – With Paul Pogba seemingly out, Juan Mata to start this one and – hopefully – give some creative edge to a pretty average midfield.
Andreas Pereira (RW) – Ok, if I’m honest, I don’t know what Andreas Pereira brings to the table, but with the sheer amount of injuries OGS has to deal with, expect him to start…sadly.
Marcus Rashford (ST) – His form has been a factor to why United have struggled to score this season, with the Red Devils scoring just nine times in the Premier League and five times since the opening weekend.
Against Bulgaria, Rashford was utilized as a left-winger and put in his best performance for a while, it was a showing that also included a fabulous strike cutting in from his left flank.
However, with Martial probably not fit enough to start, Rashford could be forced to play in the middle once again.
Daniel James (LW) – The goals have dried up for James in recent weeks, the Welshman not scoring since the 1-1 draw at Southampton over a month ago.
However, his threat on the counter means he’s a must-start for this one. The battle with Trent Alexander-Arnold on the left is an intriguing one and certainly a contest to look out for.