How Manchester United could line up against Liverpool without Marcus Rashford

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer & Jurgen Klopp

Manchester United travel to high-flying Liverpool on Sunday in what is always one of the most highly anticipated clashes in English football.

Jurgen Klopp's men are unbeaten in the Premier League and sit extremely comfortably at the top - 13 points ahead of second-placed Manchester City with two games in hand.

Meanwhile, United are 27 points behind their arch rivals but Chelsea's inconsistent form means they still have a good chance of snatching a top four place and Champions League qualification.

Joel Matip and Fabinho both returned to full training this week, Luke Shaw is nursing a hamstring issue, however most of the build-up to the game has centred around Marcus Rashford's fitness.

Rashford is not a part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad that has travelled to Merseyside, so how can United get a positive result at Anfield without their top scorer?  Let's take a look.

Man Utd's squad for Liverpool clash

Per Manchester Evening News, Man Utd have taken a 21-man squad to the home of the league leaders, which includes the returning Eric Bailly but crucially excludes Rashford.

Following the departure of Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan, Rashford has stepped up and been United's main man this term, registering 19 goals and five assists in 31 matches.

The 22-year-old suffered a back injury after coming on as a substitute in the 1-0 FA Cup replay win over Wolves on Wednesday and it's uncertain how long he'll be out for.

Rashford suffered an injury in the FA Cup replay against Wolves

How Man Utd could line up at Anfield

David de Gea will almost certainly start in goal (despite Sergio Romero's good form), new captain Harry Maguire is set to skipper the side, while Brandon Williams may get the nod over Shaw.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Victor Lindelof have been regulars this season and Anthony Martial is their biggest goal threat in the absence of Rashford, but who else is likely to play?

Not only does Solskjaer have choices to make regarding personnel, but the Man Utd manager must also decide which formation he deploys.

Will it be three at the back, like they did in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool, the 4-2-3-1 they used in the superb win at the Etihad Stadium last month, or another system?

Man Utd: 3-5-2 or 3-4-3

The image below shows Man United's starting XI when they drew to Liverpool in October:

Man Utd's XI for the 1-1 draw with Liverpool

Given that Scott McTominay, Marcos Rojo and Rashford are all unavailable and Ashley Young has joined Inter, here's how United could line up in a three-at-the-back system:

3-4-1-2: De Gea, Bailly Maguire (c) Lindelof, Wan-Bissaka Fred Matic Williams, Andreas/Mata, James/Greenwood Martial

3-4-3: De Gea, Bailly Maguire (c) Lindelof, Wan-Bissaka Fred Matic Williams, Andreas/Mata Martial James

A potential Man Utd XI to face Liverpool at Anfield

Man Utd: 4-2-3-1

This would see Bailly make his first league start in nearly nine months in a massive game, so United may instead go for a counter-attacking 4-2-3-1 which worked well at Manchester City. 

Below is the XI that beat Pep Guardiola's champions 2-1 in December's Manchester derby, as well as a similar line up that Solskjaer could utilise at Anfield.

Man Utd's XI for the 2-1 at Manchester City

4-2-3-1: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka Lindelof Maguire (c) Williams, Fred Matic, James Andreas/Mata Martial, Greenwood

A potential Man Utd XI to face Liverpool at Anfield

One dilemma for Solskjaer is whether to select the energy and pressing ability of Andreas Pereira in attacking midfield or the creative class of Juan Mata, who is in good form.

Despite Rashford being injured, the Red Devils can take encouragement from Daniel James, Mason Greenwood and Martial all being able to play in multiple positions across the frontline.

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