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Terrific tactic can solve Liverpool’s defensive woes

Manchester United face what many pundits believe will be their first real test of the Premier League season when they play Liverpool at Anfield on October 14.

United head into the game level on points with Manchester City at the top of the table after winning six of their seven opening matches and scoring 21 goals along the way.

Jurgen Klopp’s failure to resolve his team’s defensive problems has seen the Reds concede 12 goals this term and they are currently down in seventh place, seven points behind the Manchester duo.

Jose Mourinho took a cautious approach to this fixture 12 months ago, with no sign that Darren’s devastating 4-1-2-3 Football Manager tactic entered his thoughts.

The United boss has some injury problems to contend with ahead of the game. Midfielders Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini have both been ruled out, but striker Romelu Lukaku will probably recover from an ankle problem in time to take his place in the line-up.

Sadio Mane’s absence for Liverpool with a hamstring injury is a major blow to their hopes against United, while Klopp will also be without midfielder Adam Lallana who is still recovering from a thigh injury. Right-back Nathaniel Clyne is out with a back problem.

While the Liverpool manager will probably stick with his favoured 4-3-3 formation this weekend, his team’s problems at the back leave them woefully exposed to United’s pace on the counter attack.

Liverpool are slight favourites at 6/4 with to win the game and their chances could be enhanced if Klopp sets his team up to negate United’s strengths.

Tinkerman’s terrific 3-5-2 system would give Liverpool added security against Lukaku’s threat, while three players in the middle of the pitch would ensure United don’t dominate the midfield area.

The wing-backs would have the freedom to cause problems down the flanks, with two strikers giving Mourinho’s backline plenty to think about.

Putting a three-man defence of Joel Matip, Emre Can and Dejan Lovren in front of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet could help each of them cover for the deficiencies that have blighted Liverpool’s season to date.

Jordan Henderson and James Milner would be tasked with winning the midfield battle, while Philippe Coutinho could be given the freedom to work his magic from a central area.

Alberto Moreno and Trent Alexander-Arnold would patrol the wide areas, with Mohamed Salah and Firmino employed to keep United’s back four busy.

Salah will go into the game after scoring both goals to fire Egypt to the 2018 World Cup in Russia and he’s 9/4 to get on the scoresheet against the Red Devils.

With Pogba and Fellaini sidelined, Mourinho could also look at a 3-5-2 formation, although it’s more likely he’ll stick with a flat back-four and look to shore up his midfield.

De Gea is sure to start in goal, with Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Ashley Young making up an excellent looking defence.

Nemanja Matic, Daley Blind and Ander Herrera would be a secure trio in midfield, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford covering the wide areas.

Matic in particular has been a key component in United’s success this season, giving his teammates the platform to create plenty of chances for Lukaku up front.

The Belgian striker has already scored seven league goals this term and is on offer at 13/10 to add to his tally against Liverpool’s leaky defence.

The home side will look to put United under pressure early on, but Mourinho’s teams always have the ability to soak up pressure before striking.

One thing this United side doesn’t lack is an attacking threat and covering scorelines of 1-0 and 2-0 at odds of 9/1 and 12/1 respectively could return a decent profit.

Liverpool have only failed to score in one league fixture during the current campaign, so the 4/1 on offer for United to win and both teams to score may appeal to some punters.

If Liverpool are to get something from the game Klopp should employ the Tinkerman’s terrific 3-5-2 system. If he sticks with his favoured way of playing his team are likely to be in for a tough afternoon.

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