Erik ten Hag, who has made some big calls this evening in dropping both his star turn and club captain, has his say. “We know Liverpool are a really good team and you need to press them. You have to do that out of a block and need a lot of energy in transition, that is why we went with Rashford, Sancho, Elanga.” That’s Ronaldo coming off the bench to score a 90th-minute winner, then. Ten Hag also describes Casemiro as “the cement between the stones.”
Jurgen Klopp has named a very young bench, necessity being the mother of invention. A shot across FSG’s bows, in the wake of his admission that, in an ideal world, one in which he has control of the purse strings, another midfielder before the transfer window closes would be nice? Fabio Carvalho is 19, while Dutch defender Sepp van den Berg is 20. Both have a period in the Championship under their belt, with Fulham and Preston respectively. However, winger Bobby Clark and defensive midfielder Stefan Bajcetic are mere pups, straight out of the academy at 17, though both are highly regarded, and Bajcetic enjoyed a good pre-season with the first-team squad.
The protest march organised by The 1958 has begun. A fine turnout striding towards Old Trafford … and an unequivocal message.
Jurgen Klopp talks to Sky Sports. “[The injury-dispensing witch at the training ground] is not completely gone, because Naby Keita is out. But the team we could line up today, I like a lot, and we have a couple of good options to change. The rest is very exciting and young, but it’s the situation, it’s all good, we are in a good shape.”
Manchester United make four changes to the side routed at Brentford nine days ago. Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Fred are all benched, with Anthony Elanga, Raphael Varane, Tyrell Malacia and Scott McTominay taking their places.
Liverpool make three changes to the side held at Anfield by Crystal Palace last week. Darwin Nunez is suspended after putting the head on Joachim Andersen, so in comes Roberto Firmino. Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez replace Fabinho and Nat Phillips.
Manchester United: de Gea, Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Malacia, Eriksen, McTominay, Elanga, Bruno Fernandes, Sancho, Rashford.
Subs: Maguire, Ronaldo, Martial, Fred, Heaton, Shaw, Wan-Bissaka, van de Beek, Garnacho.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson, Milner, Henderson, Elliott, Salah, Firmino, Diaz.
Subs: Fabinho, Adrian, Tsimikas, Carvalho, Clark, Bajcetic, Phillips, van den Berg, Davies.
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland).
Casemiro in the house. The United hierarchy may be hoping that the unveiling of their new £350,000-a-week star midfielder tonight will take the edge off a little. Good luck with that.
Some more background on why the Manchester United fans are mutinous. Here’s our man David Conn writing last year, in the wake of a previous protest that lead to this fixture’s postponement …
… and a deep dive into the financial machinations from the ever-excellent Swiss Ramble blog.
United fans v Glazers. A video explainer courtesy of Jamie Jackson.
A couple of big showdowns in Manchester tonight. First up, the Manchester United fanbase face down the Glazers. Wine for the troops, they march at 7pm BST.
Later on, the Manchester United football team welcome Liverpool. It’s a fixture that never requires hype, even if it often fails to live up to expectations – hey, we don’t write these rules – but given Liverpool’s slow start, United’s dismal one, the 0-5 scoreline last season, United’s 4-0 friendly win last month, the possible unveiling of Casemiro, and the generally revolutionary mood around Old Trafford, this could be an evening to remember, one way or another. Kick off is at 8pm. It, in so very many different ways, is on.