Cristiano Ronaldo dropped by Man Utd for Liverpool as Erik ten Hag rolls the dice

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Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has dropped Cristiano Ronaldo to the bench for tonight’s crunch meeting with Liverpool at Old Trafford. Ronaldo remains keen to leave the Red Devils in search of Champions League football between now and next month’s transfer deadline but has featured for United in the Premier League since the beginning of the season.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was introduced as a substitute against Brighton and Hove Albion on the opening day of the season before starting in last weekend’s heavy defeat at the hands of Brentford. But he was forced to settle for a spot on the bench once again for this evening’s visit of Liverpool, with Marcus Rashford leading the line for United at the top of the pitch.

Harry Maguire was also dropped to the bench in favour of Raphael Varane, who was reportedly paired with Lisandro Martinez in the club’s training sessions over the course of last week.

Maguire has received no shortage of criticism from all directions over the last few months but, until now, had managed to retain his place at the heart of United’s back four. His absence from the Red Devils side against Liverpool represents another brave selection call from Erik ten Hag, who has been stamping his authority since replacing Ralf Rangnick in the dugout at the end of the previous campaign.

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“I wouldn’t play Cristiano Ronaldo, and I wouldn’t play Marcus Rashford,” said Rooney, as reported by The Times.

“If I was in Ten Hag’s position my main concern would be getting energy on the pitch, and United’s failure to recruit a number nine means they relied on Ronaldo against Brentford, even though he hadn’t trained a lot with the team.

“He looked like he needs time to get match fit. Ten Hag needs energy from his side and that may mean dropping Ronaldo.”

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