After a week of mouthwatering fixtures, Manchester United are getting ready to take part in another one as Erik ten Hag makes his first trip to Anfield as manager of the club.
The Dutchman’s first competitive victory for the Reds came in the reverse fixture in August – a win that ultimately proved to be the springboard for a promising first campaign in England.
Casemiro, arguably United’s best player this season, was unveiled on the pitch ahead of that game and the Brazil international starts alongside Fred in midfield.
Further back, Raphael Varane passed a late fitness test to start the game alongside Lisandro Martinez but one player has dropped out from the 3-1 win over West Ham earlier this week.
Victor Lindelof started that game but was not named in the matchday squad against Liverpool. Speaking shortly before kick-off on Merseyside, Ten Hag confirmed the latest edition of this storied rivalry came a little too soon for the Sweden international.
“So, after every game, you have some knocks! It was too short a time to recover for him. A pity for us but, okay, we have to deal with it,” he was quoted as saying by the official Manchester United website.
Fitness queries aside, the United side almost picked itself but Ten Hag had a big call to make and that was whether to stick with Diogo Dalot or bring back Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Dalot was brought off at half-time in last weekend’s Carabao Cup final and Wan-Bissaka, his replacement, enjoyed a stunning 45 minutes.
Wan-Bissaka’s strong cameo comes after two months of consistent performances and no one quite knows who Ten Hag prefers. The United boss did, however, comment on the decision.
“It’s every time [a matter of making this decision],” he said. “But I think Diogo is doing a good job, against Newcastle, against West Ham in the week and previously. But it’s very close because Aaron is playing very well.”