Tuanzebe vs Lindelöf: Who should start for United against Liverpool?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer goes into the clash against Liverpool without some of his star players, but his biggest dilemma could be deciding who he picks out of Axel Tuanzebe and Victor Lindelöf to partner Harry Maguire.
In an international game where David de Gea picked up a groin injury, Lindelöf gave Solskjaer a much-needed fitness boost after the Swede came through the game against Spain unscathed following a back injury.
The return to fitness of United’s number two doesn’t necessarily mean he will be an automatic starter come Sunday. In his absence, Tuanzebe looked commanding and composed in the defeat to Newcastle.
Here is a look at the case for both players, who give Solskjaer a rare decision where he is spoiled for choice in a good way…
The former Benfica man has had an indifferent start to the season, but his experience of playing in this fixture, could prove priceless alongside Maguire, who will be experiencing the frantic tempo the game brings for the first time.
United’s iceman will have to be at his best to thwart Liverpool’s deadly trio Salah, Mane and Firmino, and his composure in possession with Jurgen Klopp’s forwards pressing from the front will be tested.
This could be a game that may be decided by one mistake or a lapse in concentration. An assured display against United’s fierce rivals could be the confidence boosting performance Lindelöf needs to regain his consistency.
Lindelöf won’t be coming up against any towering strikers, but the interchanging movement Liverpool’s forwards bring will test the Swede, he has to step up.
United’s academy graduate would be well within his rights to feel hard done by if he was dropped after an assured display in his last outing.
Tuanzebe’s pace could prove crucial in dealing with Mane and Salah, who will be constantly looking to get in behind United’s defence. Tuanzebe has the acceleration and recovery speed to go toe-to-toe with Liverpool’s whippets in a foot race.
The 21-year-old is United born and bred, he knows what this fixture means to the club, he will be ready to produce the performance of his life for United fans.
If Solskjaer were to give Tuanzebe a start ahead of Lindelöf in United’s biggest game of the season so far, it could indicate that a new first choice centre back partnership has been forged.
Could they both start?
The injuries to star duo De Gea and Paul Pogba could result in Solskjaer opting to take a pragmatic approach. Could we see the Norwegian choose a 3-5-2 formation and start both Tuanzebe and Lindelöf?
A trio of Maguire, Lindelöf and Tuanzebe would be a solid backline, but would it be a negative team selection by Solskjaer, does he need to go after Liverpool?
Tuanzebe could also feature at full-back depending on the fitness of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw.
Another out the box solution is for him to be deployed as a holding midfielder alongside Scott McTominay with Nemanja Matic and Fred struggling for form.
Whoever Solskjaer chooses they are going to have to be at the top of their game, lets hope they are both ready and play an influential part in a win for United.
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