It’s a marquee matchup of two teams in the bottom half of the Premier League Monday both of whom are looking to get their seasons on track after disappointing starts. Awkwardly those teams are two of England’s most storied. Liverpool have picked up two draws against Fulham and Crystal Palace but defensive struggles and Darwin Nunez’s suspension will worry Jurgen Klopp. Manchester United couldn’t have started the season much worse losing their first two matches while allowing six goals and only scoring via an Alexis Mac Allister own goal. Casemiro is coming from Real Madrid to improve the midfield and defense but the Liverpool match could come too soon for him to slot into the midfield.
If Casemiro isn’t available United will face an uphill battle in the match. New signing Lisandro Martinez struggled against Brentford but in ten Hag’s pre-match presser the manager did praise his passing and parts of the performance.
How to watch and odds
Date: Monday, Aug. 22 | Time: 3 p.m. ET
Location: Old Trafford — Manchester
TV: None | Live stream: Peacock
Odds: Manchester United +400; Draw +320; Liverpool -160 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
”I don’t think it was a tough 45 minutes anymore than any other player on the pitch. I saw from his stats he won his aerial duels and his challenges,” Ten Hag said. “He was always good with his passing. He also made some mistakes as did the whole team did and I could have swapped 11 players.”
Ten Hag could look to play in a back three or move Martinez up to the midfield to take advantage of what he does well. If, somehow, United can win the midfield battle, Liverpool’s defense has been vulnerable to begin the season. With no Joel Matip or Ibrahima Konate to pair Virgil van Dijk, the lack of experience has shown as Trent Alexander-Arnold has been left without cover as he ventures forward. Marcus Rashford will look to take advantage of that as United seek their first open play goal of the season.
Manchester United: Anthony Martial will be available for his first match of the season. He was expected to challenge Cristiano Ronaldo for the starting forward position under ten Hag this season. Due to United’s lack of scoring, even though he will feature off the bench, a strong performance against Liverpool could go a long way. Victor Lindelof hasn’t returned to training yet while Facundo Pellistri and Brandon Williams are also unavailable for the match.
Liverpool: It’s almost easier to list who is available to Klopp than it is to go through who isn’t but while Nunez’s suspension will be a big loss with Diogo Jota still recovering, the team did receive a big boost. Roberto Firmino is back in training and should be a full inclusion in the match. Matip is out for at least a few more weeks, while it’s too soon to pin a return date on Kounate’s knee injury. Curtis Jones could offer a boost to the midfield soon but he’s also not ready yet while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlin has a serious hamstring injury. With Thiago also out of the match, Harvey Elliott will look to continue his strong start to the season.
Ironically, the biggest thing working against United could be that this match is being played at Old Trafford. There is a planned fan protest due to displeasure of the ownership of the Glazer family and if United doesn’t look good early in the match, pressure will build which could cause the team to crack. Liverpool will know this as well looking to get an early goal to rattle the Red Devils.
United: De Gea, Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Malacia, McTominay, Eriksen, Sancho, Fernandes (c), Elanga, Rashford. Substitutes: Heaton, Maguire, Shaw, Wan-Bissaka, Fred, Van de Beek, Garnacho, Martial, Ronaldo.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Gomez, Robertson, Elliott, Milner, Henderson, Salah, Diaz, Firmino Substitutes: Fabinho, Phillips, Kostas Tsimikas, Carvalho, van den Berg, Davies, Adrian, Clark, Bajcetic.