Erik ten Hag faces a formidable challenge as a depleted Manchester United squad heads to Anfield on Sunday to take on Liverpool, seeking to avenge last season’s 7-0 defeat.
The Manchester United manager has limited options due to the absence of at least 10 key first-team players.
Harry Maguire, Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia, Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, Mason Mount, Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho, Amad, and Anthony Martial are all ruled out for the Anfield clash, with doubts lingering over Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw, and Victor Lindelof.
While Rashford, Shaw, and Lindelof have trained in the lead-up to the game, their availability remains uncertain.
In defense, a potentially settled back line could see Shaw at left-back, Aaron Wan-Bissaka on the right, and Raphael Varane and Lindelof as the central defensive pair in front of goalkeeper Andre Onana.
The midfield presents challenges, with Scott McTominay and Sofyan Amrabat as the only established options.
With Donny van de Beek set to leave in January, it might be a bold move to start teenage midfielder Kobbie Mainoo at Anfield.
The responsibility will likely fall on the forward line to trouble Liverpool’s high defensive line, with Rashford a possible candidate to replace the suspended Fernandes and potentially lead the team.
Regarding the captaincy, Ten Hag has confirmed he knows who will wear the armband, keeping the decision undisclosed until he informs the player and the team.
The attacking options include the pace of Alejandro Garnacho and Rasmus Hojlund, while Antony is likely to earn a starting role on the right wing.
Winger Facundo Pellistri, who featured in Tuesday’s Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich, and academy sensation Joe Hugill may be called upon from the bench.