Liverpool have no choice but to plan for a fully fit Marcus Rashford ahead of Sunday’s clash with Manchester United.
There’s every chance the forward won’t play, of course. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer didn’t rule Rashford out of the game but he didn’t sound too confident in his pre-match press conference.
“I’m not going to hold my breath,” said Solskjaer on Rashford’s availability (per the Manchester Evening News). That’s certainly good news for Liverpool.
Rashford is enjoying a fine season, scoring 19 goals for United – more than any Liverpool player, albeit in far more games.
He’s their star forward and arguably their best player right now. And while it doesn’t sound as though he’s ready for Sunday, Liverpool should plan as if he is.
Because, quite honestly, what else would they plan for? United have no great alternative to Rashford – we’ll probably see Mason Greenwood, instead. Perhaps a slight change for Anthony Martial?
It’s not as though there’s an elite player waiting in the wings, or even a different type of player. No matter who plays, they’ll be an athletic, direct forward who prefers playing centrally.
And that mentality applies to United as a whole, honestly. We know full well how they’ll play – sitting back, trying to counter with pace when possible – and Rashford’s absence or inclusion doesn’t affect that.
So Liverpool must plan for United with Rashford. The worst case is simply that they come up against a slightly weaker variant of the same style.