Football Digest: Man Utd urged to give Ten Hag time he needs
Gary Neville has been left with egg on his face after a bold claim about Liverpool and Manchester United’s midfield ahead of the season came back to haunt him. The North West rivals have had contrasting starts to their campaigns, leaving Neville looking like a fool for his confident stance.
Erik ten Hag recruited Mason Mount in the summer, joining Casemiro and Christian Eriksen as part of a midfield overhaul he has overseen at Old Trafford. Sofyan Amrabat completed a season-long loan on deadline day.
Meanwhile, Liverpool’s entire budget was focused on midfield reinforcements after a flurry of departures ahead of the season.
Jurgen Klopp splashed £145million on Dominik Szoboszlai, Alexis MacAllister, Ryan Gravenberch and Wataru Endo.
But before Liverpool moved late for Gravenberch and Endo, Neville wasn’t too confident about the Reds’ chances with just two midfield additions.
“When you looked at Liverpool’s signings for £30m, £40m a few years ago, those players ended up being some of the best in the world,” Neville told The Overlap in August.
“When you look at the actual players… let’s take United as an example. You’ve got Fernandes, Mount, Casemiro and Eriksen. I think Jurgen Klopp would swap his midfield now for United’s.
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“I think there’s an element now in the midfield where he’s having to overcoach them to outperform. Before, when they signed these players, they ended up being absolutely outstanding and world-class players.
“These lads he’s got now, we know they’re good players, but it’s not the same Liverpool as they were four or five years ago. So he does need now, unfortunately, to go and get one from the top shelf.”
Of course, Liverpool acted afterwards, and it’s safe to say Klopp wouldn’t accept a swap for United’s midfield in the current circumstances.
Klopp’s signings have settled in admirably, helping Liverpool sit three points off the Premier League summit after 10 games, winning seven and losing just once.
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Meanwhile, United are slumped in eighth, having lost five of their opening 10 league outings and seven of their 14 matches in all competitions.
Casemiro has been a shadow of himself from his first season in England, a damning turn of events considering his £70m price tag.
Meanwhile, Ten Hag has already relegated £60m Mount to a bench role, and Fernandes is struggling in his first few months as United captain.
United’s midfield struggles have been a significant factor in their disastrous campaign as Liverpool profit from a streamlined sporting department that Sir Jim Ratcliffe will look to emulate in M16.
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