Manchester United's full-backs need to make significant improvement against Liverpool
Manchester United have a lot of areas to try and improve this summer. Striker and midfield are considered priorities.
Watching the performance against bottom of the table Norwich on Saturday, full-back stood out as another area in need of drastic improvement.
Starters Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles began the season as back-ups. While both initially benefitted from Ralf Rangnick’s arrival as interim boss, their performances at the weekend showed why they were initially overlooked.
Both players were poor on Saturday, too easily pulled out of position by Norwich’s attacks and culpable for their goals.
Telles did provide the assist for Ronaldo’s second goal, from a corner. But this is besides the point, first and foremost United need the full-backs to be able to defend.
This coming Tuesday, United face an in form Liverpool at Anfield.
If Telles and Dalot defend like they did against Norwich, United risk getting torn apart, again.
Neither player featured as starters in the 5-0 defeat at Old Trafford back in October, with Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka lining up that day.
Shaw is currently out injured, with Wan-Bissaka a candidate to start at Anfield.
The former Palace right-back has a reputation as a good defensive player, well earned, but in games against Liverpool and City this season he has been found wanting.
Dalot’s poor performance v Norwich could see Wan-Bissaka recalled, or the Portuguese defender could switch to the left, with Telles dropped.
Getting the full-backs right is crucial to giving United a chance against Liverpool, and there could be an alternative for Rangnick to try.
A case to move to three at the back
Raphael Varane returning from injury could tempt Ralf Rangnick to move to three at the back.
Dalot and Telles would play as wing-backs, and won’t be as exposed one v one, or allowing Liverpool to drag United’s centre-backs out of position as easily as they did at Old Trafford.
United need to try a different approach to Saturday and not make it so easy for Liverpool. The full-backs, or wing-backs, will have a key part to play.