John Aldridge explains why Manchester United haven’t impressed defensively this season

John Aldridge explains why Manchester United haven’t impressed defensively this season

Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge believes that Jurgen Klopp’s side could take advantage of Manchester United’s defensive flaws on Saturday.

Jose Mourinho’s men have been imperious at the back so far this season, conceding just two Premier League goals and claiming seven clean sheets in all competitions.

But Aldridge, speaking to Liverpool Echo ahead of Saturday’s meeting at Anfield, believes that his former club can take advantage of a handful of flaws in Man United’s back line.

“We’ve seen some suggestions that United might come to Anfield to attack, that Mourinho might take the shackles off them and go for the throat,” he said.

“There is a 0% chance of that happening, trust me! It just isn’t in Mourinho’s make up. You look at the players he’s signed for United, and it tells its own story. They’re all six foot four, built like you-know-whats, and they all know how to mix it.

“Lukaku, [Eric] Bailly, [Nemanja] Matic, [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic – it’s clear what Mourinho wants; a powerful, physical team that can battle and scrap with anyone. That’s a challenge for Liverpool, and one they’ll have to overcome first and foremost. If they want to play, they’ll have to earn it.

“Despite that, I still see vulnerabilities in United’s defence. I know their record on paper is good, but they can be got at. [David] De Gea is a great keeper but he’s needed more than Mourinho would like, I’m sure.”

There are indeed areas of United’s defence that can be exposed. The left hand side, for example, is something of a soft underbelly for Mourinho, with the space in behind Phil Jones and Ashley Young (or whoever plays at left-back) often far too generous.

Stoke City targeted that area with Mame Biram Diouf and it worked to great effect; Everton attempted something similar with Tom Davies and enjoyed a measure of success down that avenue despite failing to score.

Make no mistake: Mourinho’s main priority ahead of the clash will be to ensure that United keep their left hand side militantly tight. Anfield is a place where one mishap suddenly evolve into a litany of problems, and the boss cannot take any chances.

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Leo is a regular contributor to The Peoples Person's match day coverage and is still mourning the loss of Danny Welbeck to Arsenal.