Early team news for Liverpool clash

Thursday 18 August 2022 13:00

Manchester United and Liverpool still have plenty of time to prepare for Monday night's showdown at Old Trafford but there are some early pointers as to the shape of the two squads.

Both sides have started the season in disappointing fashion, with United losing to Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford, while Liverpool conceded first to Fulham and Crystal Palace and finished up with a pair of draws.

Of course, the Reds could go above the Merseysiders in the table with victory and, although Erik ten Hag's men won our first pre-season friendly 4-0 against Jurgen Klopp's side, it will require a much-improved performance in front of our home support to secure three points.

Anthony Martial sparkled in the tour game in Bangkok but has not been available since the competitive action got under way. The French forward would appear to still be a major doubt heading into a contest with a side he scored against on his Reds debut, in memorable fashion in 2015.

Cristiano Ronaldo's return to the line-up did ensure the centre-forward's role was filled at Brentford but he was unable to get off the mark for the campaign, despite having a couple of decent opportunities. The Portugal international will, no doubt, be desperate to upset our fiercest rivals on the big stage and show his class in front of goal again.

Whether Ten Hag decides to drastically change his XI is up for debate. The Dutchman admitted he could have withdrawn anybody at half-time last weekend, but opted to replace Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw and Fred with Raphael Varane, Tyrell Malacia and Scott McTominay. 

It was an improved display in the second half, although there was no reduction of the four-goal deficit, as Donny van de Beek and Anthony Elanga were also introduced off the bench.

What we do know is Victor Lindelof missed the defeat to the Bees with injury, Facundo Pellistri is also sidelined and Ethan Laird has gone out on loan to QPR.

Look out for Erik's press conference on Friday for some more clues as to the team he will select for the big game.

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Summer signing Darwin Nunez is out after picking up a three-game ban for headbutting Joachim Andersen during Monday night's 1-1 draw with Palace.

Defender Joel Matip was said by Klopp to be out for two weeks with a muscle strain, which would appear to suggest he will also be missing. However, Roberto Firmino's absence was merely a precaution and both Joe Gomez and Jordan Henderson made the bench at Anfield after their own concerns. 

Ibrahima Konate, Thiago Alcantara, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Diogo Jota would appear to be unavailable due to injury, with a couple of other worries for Klopp to contend with.