Manchester United face Liverpool tomorrow at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok.
At 2pm BST Erik Ten Hag will have his first chance to see how his players fare taking his instruction out onto the pitch.
Under normal circumstances, we may have predicted a heavily rotated side featuring academy graduates such as Charlie Savage.
However in front of 51,000 fans and a host of cameras, we predict a strong line-up to avoid a repeat of the 9-0 aggregate defeat United suffered against the Merseyside club last season.
With Ronaldo away (on family reasons or otherwise), Ten Hag has little choice but to offer Anthony Martial a chance at redemption.
Behind him, Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho is – on paper – a strong group, with the former in particular having a lot to prove.
In midfield, Fred and Scott McTominay would probably offer too many groans for a first outing, so we have opted for Donny van de Beek, who will be looking to recapture his Ajax performances under Ten Hag at the earliest available opportunity.
At left back, new signing Tyrell Malacia could face a “friendly” baptism of fire in his United debut.
He will certainly have the opportunity to show just why they call him “the pitbull” in such a fierce encounter.
Ten Hag typically favours a right-footer and a left-footer in his backline, but without that option we expect the ambipedal Raphael Varane to play to the left of Victor Lindelof – it may yet be too soon for Harry Maguire to have scrubbed last season off himself.
Diogo Dalot is an obvious choice over Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right back in a Ten Hag setup, although that may be open for debate.
David de Gea in goal offers the best chance of keeping Liverpool’s score down, although Tom Heaton may get a rare run-out early in preseason.
With plenty of motivation for the Red Devils coming into this match, the safest prediction is this: the match will not be friendly.
United Matchday Magazine – The Online Football Programme
United vs. Liverpool. There’s no such thing as a friendly. Ten Hag’s first match. Players desperate to impress. Revenge needed, pride must be restored.
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