Gary Neville likened one Manchester United star to former teammate Roy Keane during the Red Devils’ 4-2 defeat to Liverpool on Thursday.
United were a mess defensively as Liverpool took a big step towards Champions League qualification, through goals from Diogo Jota, Mohamed Salah and a brace from Roberto Firmino.
And Neville put his former side’s struggles down to the absence of captain Harry Maguire.
The England international watched the game from the stands with a medical boot on his foot having suffered an injury on Sunday.
The centre-back is also thought to be a doubt for next week’s game against Fulham but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be desperate to welcome him back sooner rather than later with Liverpool cutting through his side with ease.
Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof formed the centre-back partnership in his absence, but it wasn’t just that duo who suffered, the whole team seemed to lose confidence without Maguire on the pitch.
And Neville compared Maguire to club legend Keane after the game, explaining how he – like the now Sky Sports pundit – is too important to be dropped.
He explained how former teammate Keane’s absence would “unnerve” the team and believes Maguire has the same impact on Solskjaer’s side.
“I played with players at Manchester United, individual players, Roy Keane was one of them in the studio, that when they don’t play it unnerves a whole team,” he said.
“The lack of presence of Harry Maguire in that defence is just obvious for all to see.
“People will question, ‘how good really is Harry Maguire?’ But you only really see it when he’s not playing.
“What we’re seeing tonight is a very frantic defence.”
But speaking after the game, Solskjaer insisted that while any team would miss someone like Maguire, he has faith in the defenders who stepped in on Thursday night.
“Everyone would miss their captain and leader. Harry has been amazing since he came to this club.
“We will miss a player of that quality but we have players that are ready to step in.”