Rio Ferdinand believes Liverpool striker Christian Benteke should target Manchester United's "weak" link, Daley Blind, in order to give his side the best possible chance of winning at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.
Ferdinand is not convinced that Blind is the right man to occupy Manchester United's left centre-back position, and feels Benteke has the physical capability to bully the versatile Netherlands international.
Blind impressed during the opening weeks of the 2015-16 campaign, while playing in central defence, but failed to convince in United's 2-1 defeat to Swansea City before the international break.
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Speaking ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford, Ferdinand expressed his concern for Blind if he finds himself up against the physically-imposing Benteke.
“I don’t think Blind will ever be able to deal with someone like Benteke if he’s on his game and he targets him,” Ferdinand, speaking at BT Sport’s headquarters, was quoted as saying by Yahoo.
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"If I’m Benteke, all week I’m thinking ‘wherever the ball is I’m going on Blind’. That’s the only place I would be playing. I wouldn’t even look at Smalling or think about coming into contact with him.
“He’s a top striker and they paid 30-odd million for him. If he even started having any types of battles with Smalling I’d call him to the side as the manager and tell him to get on Blind as he is the weak point.”
Ferdinand bemused Blind is playing at centre-back
Ferdinand went on to express his bemusement with Van Gaal's decision to deploy Blind - who lacks many of the attributes required to become a first-class centre-back - in central defence.
“If you’re looking at Manchester United, all their targets and the money they spent it does baffle you to see Blind playing centre-half,” Ferdinand added. “He wasn’t bought as a centre-half, he was bought as a midfielder or a left-back. He played left-back in the World Cup. So it does make you think.
“Ramos, Otamendi and Hummels were targets they were rumoured to be going for, but they have not been able to get them.
"Don’t get me wrong, Blind reads the game really well and he is a natural all-round footballer but Benteke should be able to pick him up and run around with him on his shoulders. That’s the reality of it.
“The only way that Man United combat that is by having the ball. Van Gaal’s whole philosophy is about having the ball more that the opposition and that is their first form of defence.
“The more often they have the ball, the less time that Benteke is allowed to get it and pinpoint Blind.”
De Gea return boosts United
Ferdinand, speaking from a Manchester United perspective as a former Red Devil and fan of the club, is right to be wary of the potential battle between Blind and Benteke.
But United's chances of keeping Benteke quiet should be enhanced if David de Gea starts in place of Sergio Romero.
De Gea is expected to start on Saturday after his proposed transfer to Real Madrid collapsed last week.
Manchester United fans: does Rio Ferdinand make a good point - or if he worried about Daley Blind for no reason? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!