Tonight’s Europa League match with Liverpool is about as big as it will get for Manchester United this season knowing that the clubs best chance of playing Champions League football next season could very well depend on them winning Europe’s second tier competition.
Despite the return of several players for last weekend’s poor result against West Brom and the disappointing sending off of Juan Mata, United did not change their approach to the game despite being a man short.
This now has fans wondering if the run of good results was just a flash in the pan and that United have slipped back into LVG’s boring possession based game.
Dutch youngster Memphis Depay has been disappointing in the Premiership, but seems able to turn on the style when playing against European opposition which poses the question as to whether or not the winger will be able to turn on the style tonight against Liverpool.
Manchester United has sent out replica white away shirts to all fans with tickets for tonight’s match in the hope of creating a white wall at Anfield to spur the boys on, but given the fact there will be only 2,685 travelling fans the club like everything else they have done this season may be expecting too much from their supporters.
Red Devils manager Louis van Gaal does however have the opportunity to make history with a fifth successive win over the Merseyside club, but it will be a long drive back to Manchester for the 64-year-old should his team leave Anfield with anything less than a point and hopefully an away goal to go with it.
Manchester United Captain Wayne Rooney remains out injured, as does Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and long-term absentee, youngster Luke Shaw.
Bastian Schweinsteiger and Antonio Valencia, who have been missing for two and five months of the season respectively, returned to training this week, and while Valencia may get a run out as a sub, it’s too soon to expect the German midfielder to take part.
Meanwhile Jesse Lingard is suspended, while Belgium international Adnan Januzaj is cup-tied.
During the match against West Brom, Italian right-back Darmian seemed to be confused when Salomon Rondon scored, which has us changing him for the more sure-footed Guillermo Varela.
Striker Marcus Rashford only seemed to come alive after he was moved out wide and a more centre-forward position was given to Anthony Martial prompting us to leave the youngster wide right while the rested Memphis plays on the left-wing.
After having thought long and hard about it we decided to drop Ander Herrera in favour of a more solid Carrick-Schneiderlin axis with LVG knowing that an away goal and a share of the points should be enough to see his side through when they meet for the second leg at Old Trafford in a weeks’ time.
Juan Mata will be used in a playmaker role even though we think Marouane Fellaini should get some game time due to Liverpool’s tendency to concede goals from set pieces.
Have a look at our selection below and see if it is the team you would have selected.