Liverpool vs Manchester United: Three players who must start

by Leo Nieboer

Gary Neville sums it up perfectly when he says that nobody looks forward to, or feels excited by, a trip to Anfield.

Manchester United fans have every right to feel confident ahead of Saturday’s clash: they are unbeaten in the Premier League, averaging three goals a game, while Liverpool only have one win in seven.

And yet, in the heat of battle, when that cauldron reaches boiling point, those numbers – most of which lie in Man United’s favour – seem to mean very little at all.

Here are three players Jose Mourinho must start for United’s most important – and impossible to predict – game of the Premier League campaign so far.

Nemanja Matic

With Jose Mourinho missing Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini for the clash with Jurgen Klopp’s side – two players who would have definitely featured – the onus lies on the Serbian to deliver at the base of midfield more than ever this season. His wide-reaching control and sheer physical presence, in conjunction with Ander Herrera‘s tenacity, will be crucial in giving the visitors a platform from which to dominate.

Anthony Martial

In ideal circumstances, Marcus Rashford would start this game and tire out Joe Gomez in preparation for a late demolition job from Martial, but the 19-year-old has played nine games over September, along with starting both internationals for England, and United are understandably cautious about prompting any unnecessary injuries.

But you sense that the Frenchman, following a long break, will be chomping at the bit to wreak havoc on the left hand side. And in a game so often prone to becoming fragmented and cagey, Martial’s ruthlessness and precision could be invaluable.

David de Gea

This may seem obvious, hence why I never include the De Gea in these, but with last year’s 0-0 draw in mind – during which he made a spectacular save from Philipe Coutinho – you can’t help but feel as if the Spaniard will play an important part on Saturday. Liverpool, after all, will always carve out chances at home, and the 26-year-old needs to display the form that has recently led to many labelling him as the best keeper in the world.

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