Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has been dropped by Erik ten Hag for Liverpool clash
| Last updated
After two dismal defeats to Brighton and Brentford, United are looking to finally pick up their first win over the new campaign against their rivals, who put nine past them without reply in both of last season's fixtures.
And the team Ten Hag has picked for the game is especially interesting, with club skipper Maguire named amongst the substitutes alongside wanataway talisman Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Dutchman has opted for a centre-back pairing of summer signing Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane, while Anthony Elanga and Tyrell Malacia both surprise selections.
Christian Eriksen occupies a midfield role alongside Scott McTominay, with Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho tasked with doing the business in attack.
As for Liverpool, Joe Gomez returns to partner Virgil van Dijk and Roberto Firmino is back in up top as club-record signing Darwin Nunez serves the first game of a three-match ban for headbutting Joachim Andersen.
Harvey Elliott retains his spot in a midfield three with James Milner and Jordan Henderson, with Fabinho starting the game from the bench.
Rumours of Maguire being axed from the starting line up started swirling prior to the game, which has seen protests against the Glazer family from United fans.
Word spread that United had trained with both Martinez and Varane as the central defenders in team shape sessions, reported by both Laurie Whitwell and James Ducker.
Varane and Martinez have been partnered together at centre half in training in recent days. Still awaiting confirmation of who starts tonight at CB against #lfc but appears some possibility Maguire could be dropped #mufc https://t.co/Z9HsOARnQ7— James Ducker (@TelegraphDucker) August 22, 2022
In recent times Maguire, an £80 million signing from Leicester in 2019, has been heavily linked with a shock move to Chelsea.
The England international has received widespread criticism for his displays at club level and Ten Hag's decision to keep him as captain surprised him as many.
In his press conference, Ten Hag was asked about Maguire and the importance of leadership amongst the group.
“When the attitude is no good from a team, then the leaders often they’re not there, because they’re the ones that give the example and go in front, yeah, so also that is a point we have to work on," Ten Hag said.
“I work always with a group of leaders, and not one in particular. And I spoke with the leaders about this issue.
“It doesn’t always have to be senior players, but we have a core group who have to be the example and take the responsibility.”