5 Manchester United Players Whose Futures Are on the Line Against Liverpool
Louis van Gaal is ready to chop his side up, and following the final of the International Champions Cup, he will inform several players that their futures lay elsewhere.
"I will tell players after the tour," the Dutchman told reporters in Miami (h/t The Express). Competition for places in the side is stern, the formation change has put some at a distinct disadvantage and we're seeing a team in the middle of a mini-revolution.
Here are five players whose futures—directly or indirectly—are on the line against Liverpool.
According to The Daily Mail, Anderson was left at home in Manchester due to a calf injury picked up in training ahead of the tour.
It's the latest in a long line of set-backs for the Brazilian who simply can't catch a break, and his future at Manchester United rests on the success and failure of others.
Tom Cleverley hasn't overly impressed but he's more reliable than Anderson, and even a reasonable performance from him could seal the former FC Porto man's exit.
The change in formation—switching from 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 to 3-4-1-2—has been an issue for several players, but none have suffered like Nani.
He really can only play on the wings, and thus the removal of wingers from the formation gives him nowhere to play. Ashley Young can play behind the strikers or, if you believe Louis van Gaal, as a wing-back, but Nani doesn't have the work ethic or spacial awareness for those roles.
He's pretty much done.
Javier Hernandez looks set to start against Liverpool, and despite the switch to a two-striker system, his future still looks a little dodgy in Manchester United colours.
With other, more willing fourth-choice options kicking around, Chicharito could get the boot.
Wilfried Zaha bagged 45 minutes against Internazionale and a similar amount of time against Real Madrid, improving from game to game but still looking a little uneasy.
The reason? He's a winger but he's playing up front; he's another Nani for all intents and purposes, only more suited to leading a line if given appropriate coaching and playing time.
Zaha needs games to progress but, as it stands, it doesn't look like those will come at United.
Right now, Ashley Young is the favourite to slot in and play left wing-back in reprieve of Luke Shaw this season. The winger-cum-No. 10-cum-defender has played well, trained hard and Louis van Gaal seems to really like him.
That puts Reece James' goalscoring performance against LA Galaxy in the shadows a little, with injuries stopping him from returning to the team and staking another claim.
United's wing-back organisation against Liverpool could determine whether Reece gets a shot as the No. 2 left wing-back for the season or gets sent out on loan to play.