Gary Neville has revealed that Manchester United have to use set-pieces to their advantage if they are to get a result against Liverpool, on Monday night. United’s former right-back believes the Merseyside club are suspect defensively when it comes to high balls into the penalty area.
Admittedly, Jürgen Klopp’s side seem a real threat when they are in possession of the ball, but a question mark continues to hover over their defensive capabilities with the club failing to keep a single clean sheet in the Barclay’s Premier League this season. Neville believes United’s key to success could be testing the new goalkeeper at Anfield, Loris Karius, by putting him under plenty pressure from a high ball situation.
“The big weakness for Liverpool on Monday is set pieces. If United put the ball in the box around the goalkeeper and the back four there’s going to be problems. That’s the way Liverpool are at the moment.”
The Sky Sports pundit’s argument seemingly has some ground to it. Liverpool’s new first choice keeper has conceded two goals in two appearances, both of which have come from corners. United, on the other hand, have scored four times from a corner kick situation this season and once from a cross into the box off a free-kick, with the aerial threat from the likes of Chris Smalling, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Paul Pogba, that is no surprise.
Should United go behind on Monday night, it is important that the players do not let their heads drop, because statistics would suggest goals are there for Manchester club, especially with the attacking talent on offer at Old Trafford. Neville went on to touch on when he feels United could trouble Liverpool the most.
“Even against Arsenal in the first game of the season it was 4-1 and Arsenal made it 4-2 and you could see Jurgen Klopp on the sidelines thinking ‘do I quite trust these?’. I did think that the last 15 minutes against Chelsea was a big, big moment. To come through it when it was 2-1 was a big moment to give them the confidence that they can actually hold on to a lead.
“They did it at Arsenal as well, but they still look a little bit weak defensively. It might not play out in the goals they concede, but it feels to me like from 60 minutes to 90 minutes they tire a little bit and dip. That’s where it feels like United could get on top.”
Ibrahimovic, Pogba, and Eric Bailly are obvious starters for United that bring physicality, Marouane Fellaini is another name that would not be surprising to see on the team sheet for the same reason. Many reds will pull their face at that, however, if you assess Liverpool’s weaknesses, then the Belgian could prove to be significant. Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, and Marcus Rashford could also be important players for the Red Devils in this fixture, albeit it is unlikely that all three will start, the pace they have to offer on the counterattack could prove to be vital, as it is likely Mourinho will set-up with a huge amount of cautiousness due to the opponents attacking capabilities.