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Erik ten Hag told to drop Man United star vs Liverpool to expose Jurgen Klopp’s weakness



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Erik ten Hag has been told to drop one Manchester United player for the upcoming clash against Liverpool to expose one Jurgen Klopp weakness.

Just weeks after providing one of the best derby wins in recent history, United face Liverpool again, but this time following two dreadful games.

The Reds dropped points against both Chelsea and Brentford in the last minutes of the game. Cole Palmer’s hat-trick stole all three points from United, while Kristoffer Ajer earned The Bees a more than well-deserved point.

Those games came just after United’s excellent win in the FA Cup quarter-final against Jurgen Klopp’s men, where Amad Diallo scored a 121st-minute winner to knock United’s rivals out of the cup.

The Premier League fixture will bring a different challenge, however, with Liverpool in the title race and desperate to win the battle in Klopp’s last season.

Liverpool’s potential weakness

Speaking to The Athletic, former United boss and player Ole Gunnar Solskjær stated that Roberto Firmino was “probably the opposition player who caused me the most problems” during his time in charge at United.

The Brazilian forward had an excellent relationship with Mo Salah and Sadio Mane during his time at Anfield, and he did not only make Liverpool strong on the ball, but also in their pressing off it.

Danny Higginbotham explained: “For so long, we talked about Salah, Firmino and Mane. Firmino was the false nine, with Salah and Mane at 100 miles per hour around him.

“But when they lost the ball, opponents couldn’t press because Firmino was there. He was the first line of defence, but he’d also drop into no man’s land.

“For a centre-back, a false nine is really difficult to mark. If you’re worried about pace, you’re not going with him. If you’re a midfielder, you don’t want to drop too deep and lose your own men.”

However, without the Brazilian at the club, this is now something that could be targetted by United, says Higginbotham.

“But now, with no Firmino, the front three can be out the game when the ball is lost because there’s no false nine,” he said.

“Then Liverpool’s midfield get pulled out of possession and that’s where you can utilise the pace of Marcus Rashford, Alejandro Garnacho or Rasmus Hojlund. Bruno Fernandes will have more time on the ball and Liverpool’s defence must drop back.

“City have found success through control, Liverpool through intensity and United are at their best on the counterattack — that’s why United have had some success against Liverpool.”

Antony dropped for Rashford

The front three of Rashford, Højlund and Garnacho has been picked by Higginbotham for the clash, specifically because of the transitional threat that United need to offer.

Whilst Antony assisted Garnacho brilliantly against Chelsea, he also gave away a penalty and didn’t offer much else outside of the trivela pass.

Instead, Rashford would offer the expected threat on the break which saw him get the best chances of the game against Klopp’s men last time out.

If United are to win, though, Ten Hag cannot be waiting for the English forward to net in the late stages of added time, and will need his side to be clinical and strong defensively.