Manchester United’s disappointing exit from the Champions League against Bayern Munich was compounded by the injuries to key players Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw.
Maguire, recently named the Premier League’s Player of the Month for November, suffered a suspected groin injury and had to be substituted before half-time.
Shaw, signaling an issue just before the break, did not reappear for the second half and was replaced by Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
The extent of their injuries is yet to be confirmed, but both are doubtful for the upcoming clash with Liverpool on Sunday.
With Maguire’s consistent presence and Shaw’s recent return from injury, their potential absence poses a challenge for manager Erik ten Hag.
Here are three possible defensive setups United could adopt at Anfield:
1. More of the Same:
Against Bayern, Ten Hag brought in Jonny Evans and Wan-Bissaka, with Evans at center-back alongside Raphael Varane and Wan-Bissaka at right-back.
Diogo Dalot shifted to the left to cover for Shaw.
This makeshift defense could be retained, with Wan-Bissaka earning praise for his second-half performance.
2. Like-for-Like Change:
Opting for a left-footed presence at left-back, Sergio Reguilon becomes a logical replacement for Shaw.
The Tottenham loanee, who started against Bournemouth, provides an alternative.
Evans could partner with Varane in central defense, adding experience to the back line.
3. Lindelof Returns:
Victor Lindelof, absent from the last two matches, might return if deemed fit.
Ten Hag had labeled him a “question mark” for the Bayern clash, suggesting a possibility. If fit, Lindelof could replace Maguire alongside Varane.
Full-back options include Wan-Bissaka and Dalot on the right, with Reguilon on the left.
Each option presents its own considerations, and Ten Hag will need to carefully navigate defensive adjustments based on the fitness and availability of key players.