Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Herrera and Matic to get the nod at Anfield in key duo's absence

United go into our biggest game of the season without the bulk of our midfield after Marouane Fellaini suffered a knee injury on international duty. 

The rejuvenated Belgian is set for a "few weeks" out after he strained ligaments during Belgium's thrilling 4-3 win over Bosnia which sealed their place in Russia.

Pogba, who had started the season in sublime form, remains sidelined with the hamstring team he picked up during the Champions League win over Basel last month.

Pogba and Nemanja Matic proved a beautifully balanced pairing in the Reds swashbuckling start, and Fellaini then got his chance when the Frenchman was struck down by that injury.

It was testament to Fellaini's superb form - the best of his Old Trafford career to date - that Pogba was not missed and United continued their prolific, free-scoring run. 

I never thought I'd say that any Fellaini absence would serve as a huge blow, but the Belgian has been pivotal in our unbeaten start and looked to be a key man in both boxes at Anfield.

Liverpool have been by hit their own injury problems, with Adam Lallana not yet ready and last season's Player of the Year Sadio Mane out for six weeks with his own hamstring issues. 

Jose is a momentum manager - once he hits upon a winning formula and formation, he very rarely changes it, but he'll have no choice but to do just that on Saturday.

He'll try and keep opposite number Jurgen Klopp guessing, but it seems likely that Jose will revert to three at the back and go with the Basque - Balkan pairing of Ander Herrera and Matic in midfield.

Both excellent players in their own right, the duo are more than able deputies for the absent Fellaini and Pogba, and would walk straight in to the starting XI of any other Premier League side.
Yet, such is the embarrassment of riches at United and Jose's disposal that Herrera (Player of the Season last year don't forget) has found himself on the fringes.

If he does get the nod, it would be only his second league start of the campaign. 

He will be expected to be the more forward-thinking of the two, but will also need to drop back to help Matic deal with the threats of Philippe Coutinho and Mo Salah. 

Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young will probably start as wing-backs, with Phil Jones expected to be fit and line up alongside Eric Bailly as part of a possible three-man defence. 

Whatever happens, Jose will have a plan to strike victory on enemy territory and keep our unbeaten start going.

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