Ten Hag reveals why he dropped Ronaldo and Maguire for Man Utd vs Liverpool

Erik ten Hag has decided to leave both Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire out of his starting line-up as Manchester United take on Liverpool and he has explained why.

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Ronaldo has been left out of the front three, with Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga leading the attack, while Maguire has been replaced by Raphael Varane at centre-back alongside Lisandro Martinez.

Ever since Ronaldo returned to Manchester United last year it has been questioned whether he can press enough at the elite level at 37 years old, and Ten Hag has admitted he does not think the Portuguese legend is up to it against Jurgen Klopp’s side.

‘We know Liverpool are a really good team and you need to press them,’ said the Dutchman pre-match. ‘You have to do that out of a block and need energy, that is why we went with Rashford, Sancho, Elanga.’

The reason to bring in Varane for Maguire seems less tactical, but simply that the Frenchman is an improvement on the Englishman, who has been struggling for form for some time.

The United boss suggested that Maguire’s communication and mobility has not been good enough and he expects things to improve with the former Real Madrid man.

Ten Hag explained: ‘Varane is a very experienced player, won everything and will bring the communication in the back four.

‘We want mobility and agility in the back four.’

United legend Roy Keane told Sky Sports of the selections: ‘The performances haven’t been good enough so he’s made some big calls. That’s what a manager’s job is, particularly at a big club, he’s left out big players, personality of Ronaldo is obviously a problem going back to pre-season.

‘Harry Maguire has not played well, defensively they’re giving up goals, so there’s no surprise. He’s been forced into these changes.’

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