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Bailly to start? 4-2-3-1: Man Utd predicted XI to face Liverpool

Manchester United host Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime in the first and arguably biggest game of the Premier League weekend.

We head into the weekend with a two-point lead over Liverpool in the battle for second place and a nine point lead over Chelsea for a Champions League spot.

Liverpool are one of the league’s in-form teams and have one of the best attacks in England – consisting of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.

Here is the team I think Jose Mourinho will field on Saturday:

Goalkeeper: David de Gea

The Spaniard currently leads Premier League goalkeepers in the clean sheet category and produced a stunning save to deny Joel Matip when we drew 0-0 at Anfield earlier this season.  David de Gea is expected to be in for a busy time against the Reds again this weekend.

Defence: Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw

We conceded two goals against Crystal Palace on Monday night in which Victor Lindelof partnered Chris Smalling in central defence.  I think Eric Bailly must be ready to start by now and that Jose will throw him in to face Roberto Firmino and co.  I think it’ll be the more experienced Smalling that keeps his place even though the England international has not been playing well of late.  Antonio Valencia is a certainty to start at right-back but I think we’ll see Luke Shaw coming in for Ashley Young on the opposite side.  Young has not been too convincing defensively of late and Shaw will be used to man mark Mohamed Salah.

Midfield: Scott McTominay, Nemanja Matic; Jesse Lingard, Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez

I think we’ll revert to having two defensive midfielders in this game with Scott McTominay potentially man marking Roberto Firmino.  Nemanja Matic will also sit in front of the back four to break up through balls to their front three.  This allows Paul Pogba to push forward into more of a number 10 role, though with his energy you can be sure he’ll be working box-to-box.  Alexis Sanchez and Jesse Lingard both work hard getting back to defend so they’d be the sensible wide pair for Jose to start with.  Marcus Rashford could be brought on from the bench in the second half when Liverpool begin to tire.

Striker: Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku has found some form in front of goal again in recent weeks and has been good at holding the ball up for us this season.  In a game that many are expecting us to see little of the ball it will be important for the Belgian striker to do that and bring teammates into play on counter attacks if we’re to cause Loris Karius some problems in this game.

Here’s our team on paper:


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