Manchester United are sweating on the availability of star man Raphael Varane ahead of their upcoming tie with Liverpool, one report has claimed.
The Red Devils are said to hold a late fitness test for the ‘indispensable’ (as described by the Manchester Evening News‘ George Smith) former Real Madrid man this morning, according to the Daily Mail (via the Echo), after alleged complaints of leg pain.
This would inevitably lead to one of Harry Maguire or Victor Lindelof coming in to take the Frenchman’s place in the high-profile fixture.
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On our side of the coin, it seems that some degree of fortune has befallen the club when it comes to injuries, with Ibrahima Konate having since made his return to the first-XI along with Diogo Jota and Darwin Nunez.
Ideally, of course, neutrals will be keen to see all the best players on offer at both clubs available for such a classic fixture, so we’ll be wishing Varane the speediest of recoveries should his check-up come back with unfortunate news.
Ultimately, of course, it’s plain to see that the absence of the World Cup winner would offer an advantage to Jurgen Klopp’s men ahead of a clash that could prove decisive in their top four hopes.
Looking at the raw numbers, Erik ten Hag’s men have won 10 of 17 league fixtures, equating to a win rate of 58.82% when the 29-year-old has played, compared to five out of seven when he hasn’t, equating to a win rate of 71.42%.
We’d be inclined to think this has been skewed somewhat by the quality of the opposition faced in the latter grouping (with all due respect to West Ham, Leeds United, Leicester City and Bournemouth), though only time will tell how much the Red Devils miss the centre-half at Anfield.
#Ep73 of The Empire of the Kop Podcast: Author chat with Chris Roberts on Football, Mental Health… and more!