Manchester United will welcome Liverpool to Old Trafford on Monday night in the Premier League. Michael Oliver will referee the match with Stuart Burt and Simon Bennett and John Brooks as the fourth official. Erik ten Hag is seeking his first win in the Premier League this season.
The opening two matches saw United defeated 2-1 by Brighton and Hove Albion and 4-0 by Brentford, which was a poor performance from this United squad who looked uninterested and unable to string anything together. There will need to be a spark in this match.
Liverpool head to Old Trafford also looking for their first win this season with a 2-2 draw with Fulham in their opening match and a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace on Monday evening. Darwin Nunez will miss this match after being sent off against Palace, getting a three match suspension.
Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-3-3
Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Malacia;
Eriksen, Garner, Fernandes;
Sancho, Ronaldo, Garnacho
Goalkeeper: De Gea
The Spanish goalkeeper had a howler against Brentford last weekend, conceding four goals but he manned up and took the flank for the mistakes that he made, which is something that was admirable. With Ten Hag seeking a new goalkeeper this summer, De Gea needs to perform.
If he fails to get the best out of his game, he will find himself on the bench if another goalkeeper can put in the effort and show the level that United needs to break through this season. It is important that United show a steely defence and keep the ball out of the back of the net.
Anything less than this is just going to see United tumble even further, which is not what is needed or wanted. De Gea needs to find his feet, look at his mistakes and overcome them. Being nervous on the pitch is just going to punish United even more. This is a dog eat dog world that we live in.
Defenders: Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Malacia
The defence has been poor this season, conceding six goals in just two matches. Last season was United’s worst in the Premier League and for it to work, everything needs to be done at the level the manager sees fit. With Ten Hag, a new style was coming.
There are suggestions that United’s squad cannot play to the level Ten Hag wants them too, which means they are not good enough for the job. There is no way the manager should change his philosophy to suit this team. The manager is the boss. Fix up and look sharp.
Diogo Dalot could retain his place at right-back with Tyrell Malacia starting at left-back. I believe that Harry Maguire could be dropped for Raphael Varane with Lisandro Martinez keeping his place after coming off at half time against Brentford a week ago.
Midfield: Eriksen, Garner, Fernandes
A midfield three will work better than a midfield two, especially if the players in the squad can play a fluid game with changes to the formation when on the attack or defending. Football needs to be a game where things like this can change as they need to.
With Casemiro coming this summer, the days of the two-man pivot could be close to an end with a proper defensive midfielder in the squad. I would like to see James Garner play in this match as I think he could have something to offer, but it will probably be Fred starting.
Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes will take the other two midfield places with Ten Hag seeking creativity and good balls going forward. Fernandes will need to find his feet and fit in as for at least half a season now, he has been in terrible form.
Attack: Sancho, Ronaldo, Garnacho
United’s attack is pretty strong but it is an area that requires some attention this summer, especially if Cristiano Ronaldo is to leave the club before the closure of the summer transfer window. On paper. United’s attack should be scaring the opposition but it is the opposite right now.
Nobody is scared of United and that needs to change. Jadon Sancho needs to start getting into the kind of form that is needed from him. In pre-season, he was impressive but now it is like that never happened. Ronaldo will probably start, remaining professional but I wonder if that is right?
Af for the left side of the attack, as Marcus Rashford has done little this season, Alejandro Garnacho should get a good chance to find his feet and show what he can do. It is early days for him in his career but when they are good enough, they are old enough. This lad has bags of talent.
Substitutes: Heaton; Maguire, Shaw, Wan-Bissaka; Fred, van de Beek, McTominay; Rashford, Elanga
Now that all Premier League clubs have five substitutions this season, there will be more competition for places across the squad. It will become harder for some players to get matches once the transfer window has closed and United have signed more players.
Tom Heaton will remain on the bench whilst United seek a third goalkeeper. In defence, I would expect Maguire to be on the bench if he did not start, with Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, providing he does not start with Dalot’s problems already shown.
Fred, Donny van de Beek and Scott McTominay could be available in the midfield places but I do not know how long the Dutchman or McTominay could be there, especially if United sign another midfielder after Casemiro. In attack, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Elanga could be available.
Written by John Walker