It’s not every day that a lower league side gets to play a top tier Premier League club. Because of that the excitement for the League Cup draw was palpable. Still, the quality on display in Manchester United vs. Rochdale and MK Dons vs. Liverpool was vastly different for the two Premier League. Here are 5 things we’ve learnt about the two EPL rivals.
Manchester United’s problems aren’t reduced to its starting line-up
Unsurprisingly opting to invest confidence in a set of players unaccustomed to first team football, Solsjkaer may be forgiven for thinking the match against Rochdale would be a simple affair. United struggled however, Mason Greenwood’s goal being cancelled out by 16-year-old Luke Matheson’s strike. Penalties were required to separate the two sides, with United barely coming out as winners.
Liverpool’s substitutes can get the job done, especially Elliott
The name of Harvey Elliott may be one it is best we learn right away. The 16-year-old was among a number of youth players to make an impression against MK Dons. YoungstersCaoimhin Kelleher and Rhian Brewster also got a chance to play and used their opportunity well.
Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer’s time may be running out
In spite of promises that the Norwegian manager will be handed enough time to be able to rebuild the Red Devils’ squad, some believe this will not be the case. The near embarrassment of a defeat to Rochdale has left many questioning the former striker’s abilities. Whispers of a surprising swoop for former Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger, to replace Solsjkaer have been making the rounds since last night’s display.
Jurgen Klopp keeping rotation players motivated
It’s not easy breaking into the Champions League winners’ main squad. But, the likes of Naby Keita, Dejan Lovren, Milner, Adam Lallana and Joe Gomez seem to have remained fit and motivated. The aforementioned players all got the chance to play in the 2-0 victory over MK Dons.
Axel Tuanzebe’s leadership qualities put to the test
With a young squad being sent in, it was up to Axel Tuanzebe to wear the armband for Manchester United last night. The decision was made in spite of Paul Pogba playing against Rochdale. Solsjkaer has defended his decision, however, stating that he wished to use the opportunity to allow the 21-year-old Tuanzebe to expand on his leadership skills.
Liverpool and Manchester United are back in the Premier League this weekend, both with drastically different morale. Feel free to choose players from either side as you create your ultimate fantasy football draft.
The Starting lineups in Manchester United- Rochdale were:
Manchester United XI: Romero, Wan-Bissaka, Jones, Tuanzebe, Rojo, Fred, Pogba, Pereira, Lingard, Chong, Greenwood. Subs: Grant, Lindelof, Williams, Garner, Mata, McTominay, James.
Rochdale XI: Sanchez, Norrington-Davies, McNulty, Dooley, Williams, Camps, Keohane, Rathbone, Morley, Henderson, Matheson
The Starting lineups in Liverpool – MK Dons were:
Liverpool XI: Kelleher, Hoever, Lovren, Gomez, Milner, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana, Jones, Elliott, Brewster. Subs: Lonergan, Lewis, Kane, Chirivella, Van den Berg, Longstaff, Clarkson.
MK Dons XI: Nicholls; Lewington, Walsh, Poole; Martin, McGrandles, Houghton, Kasumu, Brittain; Boateng, Nombe. Subs: Harley, Agard, Nicholls, Lewington