Forced to relive painful memories of last season’s seven-goal slaughter, Manchester United make a short trip to Merseyside to face Liverpool in front of what is anticipated to be a record-breaking Anfield crowd on Sunday.
As many as 57,000 fans are expected to saunter through the turnstiles to witness this weekend’s headline Premier League contest, where the two titans are both aiming to rectify some midweek mistakes.
With no European football on the calendar for the first half of 2024, Ten Hag will be blessed with ample time to reverse his side’s horrendous domestic fortunes, as the downcast Red Devils were subjected to a cacophony of boos from fed up supporters in last weekend’s humiliating 3-0 Old Trafford loss to Bournemouth.
As a result, United enter the weekend sat five places and 10 points worse off than Liverpool in the Premier League rankings, and the Red Devils have gone over two years without winning away against a team in the top eight of the table; the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer-masterminded 3-0 success over Tottenham Hotspur in October 2021 was their last such triumph.
A penny for both Solskjaer and Ten Hag’s thoughts as United were blown to smithereens at Anfield in March, as Liverpool condemned the Red Devils to a 7-0 beatdown - the visitors’ heaviest Premier League defeat ever - and not since 2016 have United come away from the Reds’ turf with a Premier League win to shout about.
One small victory for the Reds in midweek was witnessing no more players enter the infirmary, which is more than can be said for United, as defensive duo Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw were both first-half casualties of their defeat to Bayern with groin and hamstring tweaks respectively.
United fans are facing an anxious wait to hear the latest from Ten Hag, but their side will definitely be without Jadon Sancho (club suspension), Amad Diallo (knee), Christian Eriksen (knee), Lisandro Martinez (foot), Casemiro (thigh) and Tyrell Malacia (knee), while Victor Lindelof (knock), Mason Mount (calf), Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford (both illness) are touch-and-go.
Should Mount manage to battle back from his calf issue in time for Sunday, the Englishman would be a like-for-like replacement for Bruno Fernandes - the Red Devils captain must sit this one out on account of picking up five yellow cards - otherwise either Kobbie Mainoo or Hannibal Mejbri should be thrown into the deep end.
Premier League schedule
It’s a 4:30 PM kickoff in the UK, which means 11:30 AM on the east coast of the U.S.
Premier League channel
Sky Sports Premier League in the UK. Those Stateside can watch on USA or the NBC streaming app, or Telemundo for Spanish language coverage. If you’re in Canada, you can stream the game through FuboTV.
Everyone else, head on over to LiveSoccerTV to find your viewing options.
Manchester United possible starting lineup:
Onana; Wan-Bissaka, Evans, Varane, Dalot; McTominay, Amrabat, Mainoo; Antony, Hojlund, Rashford