Anthony Elanga.

Under-23s all set for Liverpool clash

Friday 29 January 2021 15:37

Manchester United's Under-23s face a hotly anticipated encounter away to Liverpool on Saturday, with the 13:00 GMT kick-off live on MUTV.

Lead coach Neil Wood took the time to speak to us ahead of the fixture and confirmed Anthony Elanga will miss out after injuring his collarbone in the last Premier League 2 outing at Leicester City. The forward had scored twice but the young Reds went on to lose 4-2.

There will be a new face in the XI, though, after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed Amad Diallo will be playing. Wood, like all United fans, is looking forward to seeing how the teenager fares in his first appearance since arriving from Atalanta.

Ole outlines Diallo plans Video

Ole outlines Diallo plans

The boss spoke about Amad Diallo’s involvement with the Under-23s, earlier on Friday afternoon…

"It was a shame as I think it was a heavy tackle on Anthony and, up until that point, he was playing really well," Wood told us. "I said to him at half-time it looked like he was playing professionally, moving the ball quick, playing inside, linking up and running in behind. He was looking a big threat for us and on top of his game but it was disappointing for him. He's got an upper-body injury and is going to miss the next few games. 

“Obviously, he's disappointed as he felt in a good place and wanted to come back after the Christmas break and hit the ground running but, unfortunately, it's stopped him in his tracks a little bit. 

“He'll be back. He'll do the rehabilitation right and be back before we know it."

Diallo is likely to play out wide for the Reds and it may be important to understand how he's not had the chance to work with his team-mates after training with the senior squad, even if it fascinating to see how he shapes up for the first time.

"I haven't seen too much of him because he's in the first-team bubble," explained Wood. "He's training with them but I've spoken to the coaches and they said he's doing well. 

“It's good for him to get some game-time, get some minutes on the pitch and get some match practice in. I'm looking forward to seeing him play as well, just as much as every other United fan is as well.

“I wouldn't say it was an easy game to come into, our local rivals, so, yes, it's going to be challenging for him."

Any match with the Merseysiders is guaranteed to be absorbing viewing and the live MUTV clash should be no different as most Premier League 2 clashes are competitive affairs, in any case.

After a friendly with Birmingham City helped prepare the team, Wood is hopeful his side learn from our mistakes in the entertaining encounter with Leicester.

"I think it's one of the big rivalries, Liverpool versus Manchester United," he said. "I think it's a fixture everyone looks forward to seeing and when it is on the calendar. We played them early on in the season and it was a similar story as we gave away soft goals which took a bit of shine away from the performance. I feel we've improved and come a long way since then, in terms of performance and the progression of the team and individuals. That's going along the right path.

Looking forward to Liverpool Video

Looking forward to Liverpool

Neil Wood previews the Under-23s' clash on Merseyside...

“We went into the Leicester game not playing a friendly as we had one cancelled. But we've made sure the Birmingham friendly was almost an extension of training and what we worked on. It's been a slow learning process but hopefully it's sinking in."

MUTV is unable to show the Under-18s game at Burnley on Saturday but the Under-23s' match at Liverpool is live on the channel (13:00 GMT kick-off) before our coverage of the Premier League clash at Arsenal.