Manchester United remain at the top of the Premier League standings with 19 points alongside Manchester City. And Jose Mourinho’s men will have a great chance to remain in pole position when they take on their arch-rivals, Liverpool. The Red Devils will visit The Reds at Anfield Road on Saturday at 12:30 BST, and Martin Atkinson will be the referee.
Derbies are not your regular league game. They are far more intense, and usually you need players that can make a difference when things get tough. So with that in mind, how should Manchester United line up this Saturday?
First, let’s take a look at which players might not be available for Mourinho tomorrow.
Michael Carrick has been ruled out with an undisclosed injury, the same one that kept him out of the past two fixtures against Crystal Palace and CSKA Moscow. And fellow central midfielders Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini also look set to be out with hamstring and knee problems respectively. Phil Jones missed the cut on England’s squad due to an injury as well. However, he should be fit enough for Saturday’s match.
Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic remain out as well, as both players continue their recoveries from long-term knee injuries.
Romelu Lukaku was doubtful after he missed the game against Bosnia last week. But the Belgian star contributed with a goal in Belgium’s win over Cyprus Tuesday night. He should be good to go at full strength.
Predicted Starting XI
David De Gea will start between the posts. The Spaniard has six clean sheets in seven matches and, with only two goals allowed during the current league campaign, it is not a surprise to see him in the lineup once again.
The defensive line ahead of him should not see many changes. Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young will likely handle the flanks, with both Eric Bailly and Phil Jones as centre-backs. In case Jones can not play, then either Chris Smalling or Victor Lindelöf would get the starting nod. The former has the advantage, though. The Swedish’s displays with the first team have been less than convincing so far.
With Fellaini, Carrick and Pogba all out, the central midfield duo will likely feature Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera. The Serbian has been one of United’s best players this season. He should have a pivotal role considering how depleted the team will be in the middle of the pitch. Herrera is a decent alternative to play alongside him, as his technical abilities and vision from midfield should be at full display next to a more defensive-minded player like Matic.
The attacking trio in front of the Matic-Herrera duo could see some changes. But considering recent form, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are likely to start, with Romelu Lukaku sitting upfront. Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata should be available off the bench,. However, they have not shown enough to gain starting consideration – at least yet.
David De Gea; Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Ashley Young; Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera; Marcus Rashford, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Anthony Martial; Romelu Lukaku.