Charlie Nicholas says Scott McTominay and Fred are struggling to keep the ball when Manchester United are in possession.

The international break was an uncomfortable period for all connected to the Old Trafford giants, with the loss at struggling Newcastle leading focus to increase on players, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the entire background structure.

Yet United rallied impressively and came out fighting against reigning European champions Liverpool, with Marcus Rashford putting the hosts ahead on an afternoon when they would fall just short.

Substitute Adam Lallana secured a late 1-1 draw for Jurgen Klopp’s men, who had won their previous 17 league matches.

Nicholas told Sky Sports: “This is another difficult game for Man Utd. It was a Jose Mourinho-style performance against Liverpool.

“I can never remember United, even when I have seen them on the back foot and having poor times, seeing them knock 50-60 yards to get five or six seconds breathing space. United nearly won ugly.

“Anthony Martial is fit and I think he will start, while Marcus Rashford started, scored and played well against Liverpool.

“Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will want to go to a back four, but their midfield cannot keep the ball. Scott McTominay and Fred are grafting but they cannot pass the ball.

“It is another awkward night for Manchester United, but 1-1 would be a decent result for them and that is saying something.”

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Jermaine Jenas has said that Manchester United should have kept Romelu Lukaku and sold Anthony Martial earlier this year.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s first transfer window in charge saw him bring in three new recruits and get rid of several players including Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, the Red Devils boss saying those two departures in particular helped restore the culture at United.

The failure to sign replacements for Lukaku and Sanchez has led to United struggling for goals up top, however, with an injury to Martial not helping improve the situation.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Jenas took a pop at Martial and said that it was the Frenchman who should have been sold in the summer instead of Lukaku.

“Since Martial has been at Manchester United, I would say he has a month and a half, two months a season then he goes absolutely missing,” the pundit said.

 

 

“You’ve got poor Marcus Rashford, who puts himself out there every single week and gives his all. We all know he’s not a goalscoring machine or that goal-scoring comes naturally to him.

“He’s got other attributes to his game that are phenomenal that we see him produce for England on a regular basis. He gets all this criticism thrown at him yet you’ve got players like Martial who just goes missing.”

Adding to his argument, Jenas insisted that injury problems so far this season for Martial should not be used as an excuse.

He said: “You talk injuries but it happens every single season at United. Why get rid of Lukaku when you’ve got someone like Martial who is doing that every week.

“Just because he’s a younger player, or he’s more valuable? I’m questioning so many decisions that are being made.”

Meanwhile, former United midfielder Paul Scholes has also criticised the club’s recruitment policy and named two recent signings that haven’t stepped up to the mark.

 

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Champions League winning Manchester United striker Andy Cole has labelled Sergio Aguero as the best striker in the Premier League and believes Marcus Rashford must learn from him.

Rashford has established himself as one of United’s first choice strikers this season, alongside Anthony Martial.

With Martial injured, Rashford has had an extended run down the middle but has failed to make the position his own and will now miss a run of games with a groin injury.

Cole had previously stated that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should build the Man Utd team around Rashford but the ex-United man believes Rashford needs to learn from two of the Premier League’s best strikers to improve his game.

Cole told BBC Radio 5Live: “I want to see from Marcus, I know the two are totally different players but if you’re going to play that position, I want to see Aguero. I want to see Firmino.

“That’s what I want to see. If you look at those two guys playing as a number nine, when I watch them, I get excited watching them.

“Aguero for me, and I keep saying it, is the best centre-forward in the Premier League. I love this movement, I love that he just wants to get in the box, I want to score goals, I don’t care what it is, header, tap-in, I’m going to do it and I know what I’m going to do.

“Firmino for Liverpool, he brings people into the game, he sets people up but I’m still going to get in and get my fair share as well.

“I look at those two and I say to myself I just love watching you two play centre-forward.

“Marcus has got to learn off those kinds of individuals.”

Cole picked out Mason Greenwood for praise, believing he has the ability to be top class but urged patience from the club and the fans.

Solskjaer has consistently described the 17-year-old as United’s “best finisher”.

The Englishman is likely to start up front on Monday night against Arsenal, with Rashford and Martial expected to be out of action.

 

 

Cole added: “He has got a chance. His finishing is a joke, left or right foot, he’s got quality in abundance.

“I just hope they don’t, Manchester United won’t anyway, put too much undue pressure on him. He’s got great ability.

“The disappointing thing is, he’s going to have to get thrown into the deep end a little bit earlier than they would have liked due to injuries, due to being prepared to let Lukaku and Sanchez go.

“They’re looking at it and thinking we’ve got Mason, we’re going to give Marcus the opportunity to play centre-forward.

“Ideally, it would have been nice if they’d bought themselves another centre-forward.”

 

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