Erik ten Hag picks out three Man Utd stars after Liverpool draw in transfer decision hint


Kobbie Mainoo was handed just his third Premier League start at Anfield after catching the eye at similarly challenging grounds in Goodison Park and St James' Park.

And the 18-year-old impressed again as Ten Hag's most composed midfielder alongside experienced team-mates Sofyan Amrabat and Scott McTominay.

He produced a selection of midfield-splitting progressive passes and never seemed out of his depth under the pressure of Liverpool's riled-up home crowd.

The Dutchman reserved praise for Mainoo after full-time, claiming he proved he was ready to make an impact at senior level this season.

"When you are good enough, you are old enough. He proved that," Ten Hag explained.

"When he gets used to those games, we will even get more joy from it. With his scanning and speed of action, he can get switches in. He is the player who can really hurt opponents."

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Raphael Varane has started back-to-back games after falling out of favour under Ten Hag, slipping behind Harry Maguire in the pecking order.

The United boss seemingly didn't believe Varane could play on the left side of a central-defensive partnership, which sparked speculation over a potential exit next year.

But Ten Hag insisted he knows the Frenchman's quality and also hailed Jonny Evans' performance alongside him in United's defence.

He said: "Absolutely [Varane deserves praise], but we know what he is capable of. He had many such performances.

"He did very well in the partnership with Jonny Evans, both lead from the back. I can mention all players because it was really a team, very disciplined."

Varane was a contender for Player of the Match, but it remains to be seen whether he would've started if Maguire wasn't ruled out through injury.

The 30-year-old's contract expires next summer, and reports claim United are willing to consider offers in January to prevent the risk of losing him for free.

But Ten Hag clearly still highly rates him and has regularly stressed that he needs competition in all positions, which he currently has between Varane and Maguire.

Varane proved at Anfield that he can play at a high level on the left side of the duo, and he must continue starting games as long as he maintains his form.

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