Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has lifted the lid on the thinking behind his decision to start defender Phil Jones against Liverpool for Tuesday night’s Premier League game against Liverpool.
The Red Devils are in desperate need of a win if they’re to continue their push to qualify for Champions League football next season.
With both Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur ahead of them in the table and Arsenal and West Ham narrowly behind, taking something away from Anfield on Tuesday is going to be hugely important.
Rangnick knows this as well and after suffering multiple blows when it comes to squad availability, including Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been excluded due to personal reasons, the German has been forced to name a makeshift best 11.
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While some fans predicted the German tactician would stick with his familiar back four, Rangnick has surprised many by naming a rare back-five – one of the defenders making up the centre-backs is veteran Phil Jones, who has featured just once all campaign.
Discussing his decision to reinstate Jones, Rangnick hinted that the Englishman is his preferred option ahead of Ivorian Eric Bailly.
“He should be an important part of our backline, he played well when he played in that position against Wolves, I had to decide between him and Eric Bailly and that’s why I went with him,” Rangnick told MUTV (as quoted by MEN).
Judging by the manager’s comments, considering just how big of a tie Tuesday night at Anfield is and the fact Jones has barely played in the last few seasons, snubbing Bailly certainly looks like it could be the end of the road for the Ivory Coast international.