Erik ten Hag faces fewer selection dilemmas than usual as Manchester United heads to face rivals Liverpool on Sunday, with the suspension of captain Bruno Fernandes for the Anfield clash.
Former Red, Danny Murphy, believes that United might find Sunday’s encounter with Liverpool less challenging without the suspended Fernandes.
Despite concerns among United fans about playing without their captain, Murphy suggests that this situation could offer Ten Hag an opportunity to field a more robust midfield.
In the absence of Fernandes, Murphy surprisingly proposes that Marcus Rashford should assume the captain’s armband.
Despite Rashford grappling with poor form and recent illness, Murphy argues that Ten Hag, under scrutiny for his job at Old Trafford, should prioritize getting the talented England forward back into the starting lineup.
Addressing Fernandes’ suspension, Murphy wrote in the Daily Mail: “The United captain’s suspension makes the manager’s game-plan easier.”
He elaborated, stating: “Without him, United can be more solid with a midfield trio of Sofyan Amrabat, Kobbie Mainoo, and Scott McTominay, with pace on the flanks for counter-attacks by Marcus Rashford, Alejandro Garnacho, and Antony.”
Emphasizing the importance of Rashford’s inclusion, Murphy stated, “If I’m Ten Hag fighting for my job, I am putting Rashford straight back in the team after illness — with the armband.
A manager’s job is to get his best players playing. Rashford is one of them, so take a risk, give him extra responsibility, and see how he does.”
Manchester United has struggled at Anfield in recent years, with their last league victory dating back to January 2016.
With memories of last year’s humiliating 7-0 defeat, Ten Hag is well aware that a repeat performance could jeopardize his role as the Red Devils’ manager.