Ahead of Manchester United’s Premier League clash with Liverpool at Old Trafford on Saturday Night Football, Alan Curbishley picks both sides’ line-ups, Sky News reports. United coach Louis van Gaal and Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers each head into the contest with selection dilemmas to contend with following the recent international break. The Dutchman must decide whether to hand new signing Anthony Martial his United debut and if goalkeeper David de Gea should play his first club match of the season.
Meanwhile, his Reds counterpart needs to choose a replacement for suspended playmaker Philippe Coutinho. And these are the starting XIs the former Charlton and West Ham boss sees both managers going with at the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday… I do not think De Gea will start, I think Van Gaal will stick with Sergio Romero, because of all the kerfuffle and also the fact that the boy has been away on international duty. It is a big call, after the ramifications of the summer where the player has allegedly not been in the right frame of mind to be playing for Man Utd.
And for Romero as well, as De Gea has got to fight his way back into the team. De Gea may well be classed as the better goalie, but I think he has to knuckle down now and fight his way back into the team. And Romero has got to be given the chance of keeping him out. The back four picks itself at the moment, because of the injures to Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo.
I think Marouane Fellaini will come in and play, so it will probably be Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger in central midfield, then Juan Mata on one side and Memphis Depay on the other, with Rooney up top on his own and Fellaini just off him.
Curbishley’s starting XI: Romero, Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Shaw, Mata, Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger, Memphis, Fellaini, Rooney.
I think his captain Jordan Henderson, if fit, will come straight back into the team in place of the suspended Coutinho. At the back, though, it all depends on how Brendan views that defeat to West Ham. Obviously there were some horrendous defensive mistakes, but does he say: ‘I have been happy with the start and I am going to class that result as a one off?’ As they had played well at Arsenal in their previous game.
So is he not going to tinker with it too much? Because he has made that decision to start the season with Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel, I do not think after one bad game you can change it. So give them another chance and what a game to be playing in. I think he will start Roberto Firmino, and not Jordon Ibe, and will hopefully be looking to see if he can exploit either Luke Shaw or Matteo Darmian depending on the side he goes on.
As I said, I think Brendan will view the West Ham game as a one off, give them another chance and say to them: ‘This is why I picked you at the start of the season, this is what I am going to go with.’ For me I think this is a big game for both managers for all sorts of reasons and that is why I do not see Martial coming in for United – he may be on the bench – it is a massive game and one that is more than just the three points for both of them.
Because of their transfer activity over the last year or so, this has put both managers under a lot of pressure. So I do not think there will be many changes for both sides, other than enforced changes such as Michael Carrick and Coutinho.
Curbishley’s starting XI: Mignolet, Clyne, Skrtel, Lovren, Gomez, Can, Henderson, Lucas, Firmino, Milner, Benteke.