Manchester United was humiliated during Tuesday night’s Premier League match at Anfield against bitter-rivals Liverpool.
The Red Devils, led by interim boss Ralf Rangnick, were thumped 4-0 after goals from Luis Diaz, Sadio Mane and a brace from Mo Salah, propelled Jurgen Klopp’s side to the top of the Premier League table.
After being forced to name a makeshift starting 11 with several players missing, including star striker Cristiano Ronaldo, United’s backs were always up against the wall.
Following his decision to start with a back-five that included three centre-backs, Rangnick opted to recall the seldom seen Phil Jones, who has featured just once all season.
Speaking before kick-off about his decision to start Jones, ahead of other candidates, Rangnick, as quoted by MEN, said: “He [Jones] should be an important part of our backline, he played well when he played in that position against Wolves, I had to decide between him and Eric Bailly and that’s why I went with him.”
Addressing the German tactician’s decision to favour Jones over the likes of Eric Bailly, former United midfielder Luke Chadwick, who spoke exclusively to CaughtOffside, said: “That just shows where Bailly sits in the squad.
“I think Bailly has performed at a reasonable level when he has played. But he is quite an erratic and emotional player, so you can sort of understand the decision from Rangnick to play Jones, who has a different temperament.
“I’m not sure if it would have made a huge amount of difference but when you’ve got the players that Liverpool has got, United just simply couldn’t contain them.
“Playing three-at-the-back is an extremely hard system to play unless you do a lot of work on it and by the looks of things, the only work they did was from Saturday until game day on Tuesday.”
Bailly, 28, has two years left on his deal and despite being one of the fanbase’s most loved players, his most recent exclusion could see him depart before the end of his deal and Chadwick doesn’t disagree.
“You would imagine that it’s the end of the road for him. He has never really played regularly for the club. I can’t see a way back for him,” the former academy graduate added.
“But what a new manager does do is brings new hope for everyone, so maybe Bailly will be able to impress and make a starting position their own. But I am sure if a suitor came in this summer and made United an offer, they’d be prepared to listen.”