Victor Lindelöf would have been very relieved to see VAR overturn Sadio Mane’s goal at Old Trafford due to a handball, but the Swede’s lack of physical presence was exposed yet again.
The Senegalese forward shrugged off Lindelöf with ease before firing past David de Gea on the stroke of half-time, but luckily for United and the former Benfica man the goal was ruled out.
However, Lindelöf’s inability to outmuscle Mane wouldn’t have gone unnoticed by the likes of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and future United opponents.
He also struggled in the opening stages to contain Divock Origi, who was running in behind the spaces left by wing-backs Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Ashley Young.
The 25-year-old has been found wanting on numerous occasions this season after losing crucial aerial duels and physical battles.
Lindelöf was culpable for Crystal Palace’s opener in a shock 2-1 win for the visitors at Old Trafford and was also at fault for Southampton’s equaliser.
That time it was Jannik Vestergaard who leapt above the ice man to nod beyond a stricken De Gea.
In the early stages of the victory against Leicester City, James Maddison bullied Lindelöf with ease and could have given the Foxes a lead, which may have changed the outcome of the game.
What could happen if this continues?
There is no denying that academy graduate Axel Tuanzebe has the physical attributes to oust Lindelöf, but his injury in the warm up ahead of the Liverpool game will bide United’s number two more time to address the issues during matches.
The Swede was calm and composed in possession and his distribution didn’t put the Red Devils under any pressure with any inexplicable errors, but he has to start dominating the physical altercations with the opposing strikers.
However, if Lindelöf continues to lose the physical duels and costing the team goals it could result in Solskjaer having to make a decision.
That could be internally through Tuanzebe, or could a big money fee similar to the price forked out on Harry Maguire be sanctioned to go and pursue Kalidou Koulibaly.
- Three questions for Manchester United ahead of trip to face Chelsea
- Predicted Manchester United XI v Chelsea
- Have United already dropped the ball over Jude Bellingham?
- City’s Champions League ban helps United, if we are good enough
- Three Chelsea weaknesses Manchester United can exploit