Herrera the answer in Man United midfield?
MANCHESTER UNITED face their first real test of the season when they travel to Liverpool, in one of the most famous fixtures in the Premier League calendar, tomorrow.
The Lancashire rivals – the two most successful teams in English league history – meet at Anfield, with the result important to both after differing starts to the new campaign.
For United, victory would be a statement of intent as they look to keep pace with neighbours Manchester City at the top of the table in what is their first clash with one of the big sides.
With seven points between the two, the result could be even more crucial to Liverpool, who have won just once in their past four Premier League outings.
United will be without a number of key midfielders, with Paul Pogba, Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini all injured.
Defender Phil Jones is also doubtful after pulling out of England duty, so United manager Jose Mourinho will use the full depth of his squad.
“Another one plays and it’s no problem for me,” said Mourinho, who could bring Ander Herrera into midfield.
“Not just Ander. We trust every player. We lost players last season and we lost players this season. With our way of thinking and feeling, it really is no problem.
“We never hide behind this or that player or this or that injury. We trust the ones that are going to play.”
In-form striker Romelu Lukaku will be fit after returning from injury to play for Belgium in midweek.
Liverpool will miss forward Sadio Mane, their leading scorer, who injured himself on international duty with Senegal.
Former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, speaking to the Liverpool Echo newspaper, said he expects United to try to hit the home side on the counter-attack.
“I think United will come and set up quite defensively, but at the same time they have fantastic frontmen in Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku and Anthony Martial,” he said.
“I think Jose will try to make sure the pressure is on Liverpool, but the pressure is on everyone when it comes to a game like that.”
Dalglish said Liverpool, who will wait on the fitness of defender Dejan Lovren before deciding their line-up, just need a bit of fortune to go their way to get back on track.
“At the moment United are playing very well and Liverpool haven’t had the breaks. But their luck is bound to change at some time or other... hopefully this week.”
City, who top the table on goal difference from United, could be boosted by a surprise return for Sergio Aguero, who has recovered much faster than expected after a recent accident.
Aguero was expected to be out for at least six weeks but he is in contention to face Stoke tomorrow.
“I still do not know if I am going to play on Saturday,” the Manchester Evening News quoted him as saying. “Today I trained normally, but without the group.
“Tomorrow I will get into the group to see how I feel, but at training it’s not the same as a game, I want to see if I have pain.”
Third-placed Tottenham will try to break their Wembley duck this season by winning at home in the league for the first time against Bournemouth on Saturday.
Spurs have struggled at their temporary home but they should be confident, especially with striker Harry Kane having continued his rich scoring form with England in midweek.
Fourth-placed Chelsea travel to bottom side Crystal Palace, a team still looking for their first goal and first point of the season. Arsenal will hope that Laurent Koscielny is fit to replace Shkodran Mustafi, who is out for up to six weeks with a hamstring injury, as they travel to Watford.
Burnley, riding high in sixth, host West Ham, Swansea play Huddersfield, struggling Everton are away to Brighton and Southampton welcome Newcastle in other weekend fixtures.
HOT FORM: Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has been a standout since arriving from Everton.