Manchester City have set the bar with their win away to Chelsea ahead of Manchester United’s trip to Anfield following the international break.
Pep Guardiola’s side didn’t just produce a solid performance at the back; they attacked Chelsea’s weak spots with vigour, forcing their full-backs to play wide and in turn creating space in the middle for their attacking midfielders – Keven de Bruyne especially – to inflict damage.
Needless to say, United need to do the same at Anfield: Liverpool have their weaknesses and Jose Mourinho will look to exploit them.
Juan Mata can be viewed as an obvious first choice under Mourinho. The Spaniard brings an element of control high up the pitch and links up well with Antonio Valencia, but you sense the clash at Anfield won’t accommodate his style like most games usually do.
Liverpool this season resemble a fighter jet with faulty steering: plenty of speed and attacking impetus mixed with a lack of composure. This game will whizz by at 100 miles per hour and Mata, in turn, will struggle to play his normal game.
This is why having Rashford and Martial out wide makes sense. The pair can align with the game’s ferociousness whilst adding the touch of quality in the final third that has so often eluded Liverpool this season.
They will, no doubt, fancy their chances against Joe Gomez and Alberto Moreno.