Manchester United face a challenging clash at Old Trafford with Liverpool coming to town on Sunday afternoon. This season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side has been lacking a lot of things – ever since that 4-0 thrashing of Chelsea in the opening match of the season, the ability to score goals and win matches has seemingly disappeared.
Liverpool are the current Premier League leaders and it will be a massive challenge to take points off them, even considering the fact that United are unbeaten in the last five home fixtures against Jurgen Klopp’s side. The good thing is that Solskjaer could have some players back from injury, which will go a long way in making this team better.
The one thing that has been lacking though is fight. There does not seem to be much of this in the team and answers will need to be found, otherwise, there will be more players ensuring that they will be exiting the club either in the January transfer window, or next summer. Matches like this should get the team fired up. If not, what is the point?
Goalkeeper: Sergio Romero
David De Gea suffered an injury whilst playing for Spain on Tuesday evening, which could see him miss the Liverpool match, so in this case, Sergio Romero should face the Premier League leaders. The Argentinian has played well most of the time when called upon, however, with the squads confidence in the gutter, this could be problematic.
Romero is a decent number two goalkeeper for any club and he can be a safe pair of hands when needed. Liverpool, however, could be up for the challenge of facing United without De Gea in goal, which could see them take advantage, of both United without De Gea and the club being in the state it is currently in, which might be a tough day at Old Trafford.
Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw
The defence has struggled recently with the illness of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and the injury to Luke Shaw, both should hopefully be over as United bid to get ready for the visit of Liverpool. With both players in the team on either side of Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire, the defence has been good this season. United have conceded nine goals though, in 11 matches.
This match could well be one that gets fire in the bellies of all of the players, who in recent weeks have all let the team down. If this is going to be another lacklustre match for United, it will be hard for them to come back from a defeat against the league leaders and it will reduce the level of confidence amongst the squad, which they are all responsible for.
Midfield: Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay
The midfield needs to change. Paul Pogba, when fit, is not being played to his strengths. Granted, United need better midfielders, but the club made a decision not to replace Marouane Fellaini or Ander Herrera, so that is how it will remain until at least January. Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay could be partnered here, which might aid the team.
Pogba should be playing further forward as United get better creativity when he plays in an advanced position. The defensive aspect should be dealt with by both Matic and McTominay with the Serbian shielding the back four and McTominay being the link between defence and attack. Back to basics might be better for Solskjaer, which might actually work.
Attacking Midfield: Daniel James, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford
Marcus Rashford scored a stunning goal for England against Bulgaria on Monday, playing from the left-wing. Rashford has not been cutting it as the lead striker this season, his best performances have come from the flanks. Daniel James might have to move to the right flank to accommodate Rashford, seeing what can be attained from this game.
Pogba has been ruled out of this match, which is a major blow with the same United, other than Wan-Bissaka, Martial and possible Shaw. Jesse Lingard will probably start, although he does not deserve to. He has become a problem player in this squad who has not done enough to warrant his immaturity on social media. He’s 27 in two months!
Striker: Anthony Martial
The French forward has been missing for the last eight matches and it has been a big blow for United, who have been toothless in attack, scoring just five goals since the Crystal Palace defeat, which was the same game Anthony Martial was injured in. Marcus Rashford has not been good enough in front of goal to carry United forward.
Not replacing both Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez could well be costly for United this season and it will cost them a lot of money when a striker has been identified. It is clear that Martial, Rashford and Greenwood is not enough to keep the goals coming – although it does not mean they are all bad players. This squad is stretched this season.
Substitutes: Lee Grant; Ashley Young, Axel Tuanzebe; Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Fred; Mason Greenwood
Having players capable of carrying United forward on the bench is going to be important for Solskjaer. With De Gea’s expected absence, Lee Grant will have a position on the bench. Axel Tuanzebe has done well in recent weeks and there are suggestions that he could rival Lindelof to partner Maguire in the centre of defence, which will be good for him.
Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira and Fred could also find themselves on the bench – none of them have done much to warrant starts, if players are coming back from injury. They all need to be doing so much better. With no other attacking players and if he is fit, Mason Greenwood could he on the bench also. If he’s not fit, Tahith Chong could be selected.