Manchester United are at full strength as they prepare to face Liverpool at Anfield with Phil Jones the only absentee.
It is crunch time for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United as the Red Devils travel to Anfield to face Liverpool in what is a start of a run of tough fixtures for the club. This run of fixtures could very well make or break Mourinho’s first season in charge of Manchester United in terms of the club’s ability to mount a title challenge.
The squad morale is likely to be high with the return of Luke Shaw and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who are available for selection. In fact, Jose Mourinho confirmed in his pre-match conference that all of the first-team players are fit and available except English international Phil Jones, who is a long-term absentee.
Jose Mourinho has not experimented much with his back-line and it seems like the quartet of Valencia, Bailly, Smalling and Blind are expected to retain their places in the lineup despite the availability of Luke Shaw. David De Gea is an almost automatic choice between the posts while it is likely that Mourinho keeps the pair of Herrera and Pogba as the holding midfield duo after a couple of note-worthy performances under their belt.
The attack is likely to be spearheaded by Swedish veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovic while it is debatable as to who gets chosen by the Portuguese to feature in the 3-man attacking midfield. One would feel, given the players’ form, Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata are likely to be handed a start with the little Spanish magician playing as the number 10, where he has excelled thus far.
The last spot could very well go to any one of Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. While Mourinho has preferred Lingard in a couple of games, the Portuguese does not need a reminder of Lingard or Mkhitaryan’s performance in the Manchester derby, a result which set the club’s form spiralling downwards.
Martial scored a good goal after coming on in the second half against Stoke City and one would feel the Frenchman deserves a start over his two teammates with the memories of his debut goal still fresh in the minds of Manchester United faithful. Mourinho may also surprise fans by handing Wayne Rooney a start, something which the Portuguese has not done in the past two games.