Captain Harry Maguire will not start for Manchester United against Liverpool at Old Trafford on Monday evening, claims a report.
The England man has been just one of the players in the firing line after United’s poor start to the season. And a defeat at home to arch-rivals Liverpool will mean three straight losses for the first time since 1986.
They will have to avoid defeat without Maguire though, report talkSPORT. Erik ten Hag has decided to drop the former Leicester man just days after Chelsea were linked with him.
The Daily Mail reported that Chelsea have asked about England defender Maguire “amid growing doubt over the central defender’s future at Manchester United”. A potential swap deal with Christian Pulisic has been mooted.
The Guardian though report that Old Trafford club’s captain is not for sale, but he is set for a bench role against Jurgen Klopp’s men.
TalkSPORT’s Micky Gray said: “I have spoken to a couple of people, and that could be one of the big changes [against Liverpool].
“I don’t think Harry Maguire is going to be in the starting XI. So it just depends if it is going to be new signing Lisandro Martinez or Raphael Varane. Manchester United have options.
“I don’t think it is down to the personnel [for Manchester United’s current form], I just think whatever XI Erik ten Hag picks, they have got to match Liverpool for effort.
“If they don’t, it could be another big score.”
Another big score incoming?
Maguire has started and captained United in both games to date this season. However, the defeats to Brighton and Brentford have brought a number of issues into focus and Maguire’s place is at risk.
Erik ten Hag has refused to single out his captain when being asked about leadership at the club. But the removal of the 29-year-old for the XI against Liverpool will be a major storyline.
Ten Hag said: “I work always with a group of leaders, not one in particular and I spoke with the leaders about this issue.
“It doesn’t have to be always senior players. But we have a core group who have to be the example and take the responsibility.”
Could Ten Hag take a more pragmatic approach with Harry Maguire starting?
Manchester United suffered a a 5-0 defeat to Liverpool at Old Trafford in October 2021. And then they lost 4-0 at Anfield in April.
However, they did taste a 4-0 victory over Klopp’s men in Thailand in pre-season.
“I thought our team played brave. Played proactive and we had to play really hard to get out of the mistakes. But we are happy with the first game,” said Ten Hag after the Bangkok victory.
“I know we have good players,” he added. “We have started the first game and I am happy.”
Whether or not Ten Hag will insist on his high-pressing approach against Liverpool remains unclear. The Dutch boss has insisted he will “stay consistent to the philosophy” but a more reserved style of play could be the way forward against Liverpool.
That could include Maguire pairing Varane at the back, with the Argentinian Martinez playing as a deep-lying midfielder in front of the back four.
Casemiro has been signed from Real Madrid, but the Brazilian is ineligible with his visa yet to be approved.