PREVIEW By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Louis van Gaal is expected to go with experience for the first leg of Manchester United’s titanic Europa League double-header against Liverpool.
Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final against West Ham is unlikely to influence selection as Van Gaal attempts to gain a foothold in the tie against United’s big rivals.
Marcus Rashford’s extraordinary start to his career has lifted a team, a club and an entire fanbase but Van Gaal could opt to demote the striker to the bench against Liverpool after his starting role in four matches in 11 days.
The 18-year-old was ineffective in the 1-0 defeat to West Brom last weekend, initially in a central role and then out wide following the first-half dismissal of Juan Mata.
He could be held in reserve as an impact substitute, allowing Anthony Martial to spearhead the attack and Memphis Depay to return on the left flank.
With Jesse Lingard suspended and Adnan Januzaj cup-tied, Van Gaal could push Ander Herrera forward into the playmaker role and use Mata out wide.
Van Gaal will then perm two of Morgan Schneiderlin, Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera and fit-again Marouane Fellaini for the central midfield positions.
United struggled without lucky omen Schneiderlin at the Hawthorns, and the Frenchman is set to play at Anfield, possibly with Fellaini alongside him and Carrick on the bench as an alternative.
In defence, the experience of Chris Smalling and Daley Blind should make them shoo-ins, and Van Gaal will assess Rojo in training before deciding whether to start him for a fourth consecutive match.
The growing availability in the full-back position could mean Guillermo Varela, who has impressed in recent weeks, starting at right-back and Matteo Darmian filling at left-back.
Manchester United (possible) De Gea; Varela, Smalling, Blind, Darmian; Fellaini, Schneiderlin; Mata, Herrera, Depay; Martial