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Man Utd vs Liverpool preview: Eric ten Hager needs to get back to basics at Old Trafford

The huge rivalry of English football in the North has been a little sideways lately. Only two of the last 15 meetings between Manchester United and Liverpool have seen them win. Last season’s Premier League clash lost 9-0 to Jurgen Klopp’s side on aggregate, and those two games could have been worse. Mohamed Salah’s goals at Old Trafford last season compared to Marcus Rashford , Jadon Sancho as much as Anthony Martial’s combined.

Given recent history, Eric Ten Hager’s standards in his first competitive meeting with Liverpool were so low that even his team The kind of face shown in the first two league games could also constitute progress. Well, maybe not Brentford’s game.

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The former Ajax manager entered his first test of greatness on paper with very little he could have wanted . The players who commanded the game from the midfield base were not there yet; they were not a facilitator but worked hard to get one of the best destroyers in the game at Casemiro , in the next A 30-year-old who paid one of the most lucrative salaries at Old Trafford in five years. The Brazilian will not register in time and no cavalry will come unless Anthony Martial returns. As Rick Pitino said, “Cristiano Ronaldo wouldn’t walk through that door.” Only, awkwardly, he had a version, and after not having much impact, he changed Abe Simpson’s style, almost as soon as he arrived he tried to force his way out of the club. Ten witches will have to use what he has.

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Those players, plus quite a few who left this summer but likely would have been drafted if they were still in the Northwest, provided a blueprint last season , tell them how not to play against Liverpool. On both ends of the pitch, the pressure dropped. Offensively, they couldn’t cope with the intensity imposed on them, and at the other end, the haphazard approach to regaining the ball didn’t do much, just leaving an ocean for Thiago and his mates.

Liverpool are good enough that they will arrive at Old Trafford on Monday, even in injury-riddled circumstances, bringing superb technique through a well-organised defence. Even if United miraculously did it, Klopp’s side could still punish them, as did the second of four goals they conceded in their 4-0 loss at Anfield last season. Ralph Rangnick’s back three was out of action for most of the game, but this time around, the visitors kept their form and forced a game-building on the right wing all the way back to Joel Ma. on Tip. Then there were two brilliant passes from the centre-back and a subtle clip from Sadio Mane and Salah to roll the ball over David de Gea .

Still, more of United’s conceded goals came from their first conceded at Old Trafford, a litany of errors that need Hercule Poirot to track down its root cause. Bruno Fernandez pressed Allison , but it was a helpless effort; when the ball went to Andrew Robertson, Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been pulled up front.


Wan-Bissaka was pulled up to force Robertson, but couldn’t get there quickly enough to stop him from passing Wyscout/Sky Sports

The little problem starts here manifested. Wan-Bissaka might be a little closer, but the real problem is that he and Scott McTominay are both blocking the same infield pass for Robertson. No one covers the space on the right wing of Manchester United and Diogo Jota drags Victor Lindelof there.


Another infield pass from Jota and Liverpool put United’s backline forward Wyscout/Sky Sports

Starts here , knows every impression a Manchester United player makes on them. Naby Keita exploded up front while Fred , Mason Greenwood and Cristiano Ronaldo towards the center line. Liverpool’s attack is a single organism. No one expected to react to the moment Robertson broke the press.


Because Keita charges through there and even his other option is to overlap with Alexander-Arnold, ahead of Greenwood Wyscout/Sky Sports export-2022-08-19t113446-193.png

Even if Shaw somehow manages to move from Salah to Keita, what else can he do when the pass is played? Fred, Wan-Bissaka and Mason Greenwood all barely started jogging as Liverpool were so far away.

This is the story of an era at Manchester United without the ball, ‘oh dear’, reflecting a squad whose faith in planning has been eroded. The first player in the press may grasp what to do, the question is whether the cognition continues down the line so that the player knows how to react when the initial line is broken. In recent seasons, and not just at Liverpool games, United’s media has often been a shotgun, more a lone wolf than a prey.

This means the opportunity can pass. At Anfield, Fernandes pressed again, but without the support of the rest of the front line. He forced Virgil van Dijk into a return pass ahead of Alisson, whose strong touch gave the Portugal international half of the chances to steal the ball.


When Fernandes forced Alisson into a mistake, his team-mates barely took advantage of the situation Westcott/Premier League

Behind him Marcus Rashford and Wan-Bissaka were the most interested observers for this chance to steal the ball and score. In fact, the former has turned his head and jogged back into a defensive position. If United play deep and are only going to weather the storm at Anfield, that might make sense. Instead, Ralf Rangnick’s three backs played on the edge of the center circle, while those in front of them applied no intensity to the ball.

One would assume Nemanja Matic was chosen for this particular game to protect the back three that Rangnick had rarely used before. So, is he charging up front to give Mane a space to use?


Matic chases the ball high to make room for Sadio Mane Turn Westcott/Premier League

In less than 20 seconds, a half-baked Manchester United press turned their goal-scoring chance into a Luis Diaz score at the other end.

With the ball at Manchester United’s feet, it was clear that Ten Haag’s appointment did not come with a panacea for his players to build possession from deep. Last week at Brentford you could see the same moment as last season at Old Trafford when Liverpool passed the home team directly to them.

In the following paragraph of the game Roberto Firmino demonstrates a supreme understanding of the position as he plays for Wan-Pisa Card blocked the fairway and made an extravagant jump in that direction. The Brazilian appeared to be two steps ahead of McTominay, who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) produce a pass to get United out of danger.


Liverpool’s pressing forces Wan-Bissaka back and has no choice but to pass to Maguire Westcott/Sky Sportsexport-2022-08-19t113446-193.png

Firmino chased the ball to De Gea, and if the Spaniard had time to look up, he would have seen precious few options open to him. Fred is not particularly suited to receive dangerous passes into midfield. McTominay also did not play, with a hole in front of the two defensive midfielders. No one is in a hurry to go back and fill in.


Under pressure from Firmino, De Gea passes the ball to Luke Shaw Westcott/Sky Sports

This is still the case when the ball is passed to Shaw. A heavy touch of an uncontrollable pass invites Salah to attack the Manchester United defender. In the end, Maguire cleared the ball for a pitch rather than a corner, much better than the home side had done before that point.

These exact same questions plagued Manchester United before Monday’s game, and the worst part is they know it. Not only did these tragic experiences with Liverpool make Ten Haag’s side nervous about their great rivals, but it was the case whenever they were under pressure.

Seconds before Matthias Jensen sneaks in for Brentford’s second win in last week’s stunning 4-0 victory, you can Feel the dread of setting up the game with goal kicks coming through TV screens from west London. Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbuemo lined up on the edge of the box like sprinters on their caps; inexplicably, Lisandro Martinez took the ball Passed to De Gea, which meant his left centre-back couldn’t even get the ball when Brentford’s pressure was on the keeper.


Manchester United lined up to kick off, De Gea had little chance to pass the ball, as his As the manager wished Wyscout/Premier League export-2022-08-19t143550-725.png

This is not going to the game against Liverpool, if believing that a week on the training ground can be drilled from the mistakes we have seen with these players they have made over the years , that would be too gullible. Ten Witch had no choice but to stick to his principles at least Monday night. If he got something from Brighton vs Brentford, anything , then this could have been a free hit, with Chance to see what happens when his players try to execute a more progressive, proactive plan against one of the best teams in Europe. Now, the basic reality of the Manchester United situation steps in. They are bottom of the table with zero points before two away games and are far from three-point bankers given their current predicament.

Manchester United can’t even reliably expect what Fulham did against Liverpool in the Reds’ faltering start to the new season. Crystal Palace’s point at Anfield looks better for the Ten Witch imitation: tight defensive line, everyone behind the ball, some lucky breaks, where the ball bounces and the front line can be tested Space behind the High Line. With Anthony Martial back in full swing, the Red Devils can at least deploy, even if he, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho have all failed to impress in the Premier League.

It’s a damning indictment of how far the storied club has fallen, scoring a goal at half-time and defending his life feels like their only realistic way to confront an opponent who is always their measure. But as their most recent meeting proved, the gulf between Liverpool and Manchester United has been for some time. No matter the format of the preseason, Ten Haag or any other manager can’t bridge it in a few weeks. For now, all he and his players can do is get back to basics and hope.



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