A few months ago news that Marouane Fellaini was injured and out of the Liverpool game would have been greeted with jubilation by many United fans, while the Anfield faithful may have cursed their misfortune. Now though, Reds- of the Mancunian variety- are beginning to see why Jose Mourinho considers his Belgian enforcer to be more than just an elbow wielding, poorly coiffured clown. Fellaini has proven this season beyond much of a doubt that despite the constant rumours, he’s going nowhere, Mourinho needs him and his detractors inside Old Trafford at least are now very much in the minority as four goals so far this season – three in the Premier League and the other in the Champions League have shown that Fellaini can be a threat to the opposition goal, not just the opposition’s cheekbones.
Such is the former Everton man’s contribution this season that were he wearing the Red of Liverpool not United, he’d find himself the club’s joint second top scorer, with the same amount of goals as the much lauded Firminho and more than the much sought after Philippe Coutinho. It’s been a rise many of us who rated Fellaini haven’t been overly surprised at which is why when he crumpled to the Sarajevo ground during Belgium’s meaningless win over Bosnia and Herzegovina the groans could be heard all the way from Manchester- drowned out only perhaps by the screams of Jose Mourinho who’d already questioned why his less than fully fit player was being used in a game he didn’t need to be risked in. Oh to be a fly on the wall when Mourinho got the call from Roberto Martinez, explaining why he’d thrown a spanner in the Special One’s plans. I expect the former Wigan manager is currently sat behind his sofa whispering to his kids to get down, every time the doorbell rings.
It’s not just Fellaini who’ll be missing from United’s ranks of course, Paul Pogba, who’s transfer fee has gone from looking like the biggest overpayment since Louis van Gaal decided to bring Angel Di Maria to Old Trafford – and bizarrely play him just off the striker- to the best bargain since United got Chelsea to give them money to not sign Jon Obi Mikel, will also be unavailable.
A few seasons ago losing two midfielders ahead of a game at Anfield would have spelt disaster and may as well have caused most United fans to start placing their money on a draw using Betway Mobile App (read review here)as betting on Liverpool is quite frankly out of the question for any self-respecting Red, but with other options such as Ander Herrera available, it’s a blow Mourinho’s men can roll with. When it comes to having a flutter putting money on Romelu Lukaku as first goalscorer is one bet that’s been paying off this season as United’s new signing has hit the ground running, with seven goals in his first seven games. The most common score for United this season has been 4-0 but could that really happen at Anfield? With odds on offer of around 80/1 for such a scoreline some punters may be willing to take a chance it could, although with Mourinho often set up his team in a defensive way when they travel to Anfield betting on a 0-0 may not be a bad idea, especially when you remember the bore draw between the two sides in the league last season.
Liverpool have suffered their own injury woes with who’ve lost Sadio Mane’ being out, but can turn to the likes of Daniel Sturridge, or maybe Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who will surely be desperate to put what’s been something of a disastrous start to his Anfield career behind him and show why Jurgen Klopp was right to fork out so much (in the region of 40 million quid) for a player who’s never managed to make himself anything other than an Arsenal squad member.
United have a similar dilemma as to who should form part of the front three with both Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford shining this season.
It’s squad members that could make the difference this weekend, with injuries taking their toll on both sides, my money’s on United’s fringe players to step up and show their rivals which team is truly the one on the rise.