Ole Gunnar Solskjaear saw injuries go this week – something he showed off with his Manchester United XI vs Liverpool. Both teams chase a win in one of the season’s biggest games.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed in the buildup to this one that Bruno Fernandes was an injury doubt. That was a serious problem for Manchester United – they rely on the Portuguese playmaker.
Not only that but Fernandes wasn’t the only injury doubt. Both Fred and Marcus Rashford came away from the Atalanta game with problems.
But, it seems, problems they comfortably recovered from. All three players start for United at Old Trafford as they get some good fortune.
United XI vs Liverpool
David de Gea
Wan-Bissaka – Lindelof – Maguire – Shaw
McTominay – Fred
Greenwood – Fernandes – Rashford
What can Liverpool expect?
This is exactly the same XI that started against Atalanta. Perhaps some tired legs, then? That’s perhaps wishful thinking.
We can expect a very, very strong counter-attack, though. United start this with three strikers and an attacking midfielder, essentially. They have little choice but to threaten Liverpool as often as possible.
And with only two covering midfielders, there’s real potential to stretch United. They’re asking an awful lot of McTominay and Fred to cover gaps when they push forward.
We wonder if that’s why Liverpool picked Roberto Firmino for this one. He’s someone who will naturally drift about and take advantage of that space.
But really, this comes down to whether Liverpool can keep United’s attack at bay. Atalanta couldn’t in midweek, giving up a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2. They did show how easily you can get at Solskjaer’s side, though.
If the Reds can blunt that attack, they’ll win this game. It’s a big ask but it is as ‘simple’ as that. United don’t have a solid-enough unit behind that electric front-line.
Expect either United to sit very deep and play on the counter-attack, then, or for Liverpool to consistently find attacking opportunities. It’s really one or the other here.