Three questions for Manchester United after Liverpool loss

Manchester United lost 2-0 against bitter rivals Liverpool at Anfield yesterday.

The Reds were favourites going into the game and while United had decent spells, with result was fair on the balance of chances in the game.

The match raised questions for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has plenty of work to do to bring United back into line with Liverpool.

We’ve picked out three of the most pressing.

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Will United finally enter the market?

With United frequently lacking quality and invention here, it was tempting to wonder how Bruno Fernandes would improve their midfield.

It’s almost impossible to imagine him not being an update, but almost two thirds of the way through the January window, the deal is still not close.

Then, during the second half, it was revealed that Marcus Rashford faces months on the sidelines with a double stress fracture in his back.

That leaves a thin squad looking increasingly short and should force United into the market.

Whether Solskjaer and Ed Woodward can get that done is another matter entirely. But United’s squad depth is now at crisis point.

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Is Shaw better at centre half?

For many seasons now, Luke Shaw has lacked the energy and attacking quality which is now a prerequisite for the modern full back.

He was fielded yesterday in a left centre half role and did a good job of keeping Mo Salah quiet on the whole.

In a three at the back, there could be a role for Shaw.

Some of United’s better displays this season have come with three at the back but injury issues at centre half have perhaps hampered Solskjaer’s capacity to use the system more often.

Perhaps Shaw could ease the burden.

Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

What’s going on at set pieces?

United made a reasonable start to the game but were completely undone by Virgil van Dijk within 15 minutes.

Solskjaer’s side have let in as many goals from set pieces as any Premier League club (8) and the problem is getting worse.

Van Dijk strolled in to nod home, with United’s baffling system of using smaller blockers on tall players proving ineffective once again.

It’s incredibly frustrating and will repeatedly undermine Solskjaer’s gameplan in games going forward.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.