However, the new defensive line is equally impressive. A newly confident Danny Ward, a returning Ricardo Pereira, an Australian international, an aggressive Wout Faes, and a simply passionate and intelligent Danish left-back. It could not look any more different, yet it feels so similar.
It feels similar because the roles have not changed. A couple seasons ago, we had a back line of Ben Chilwell, Caglar Soyuncu, Jonny Evans, and Pereira. The Belgian CB and Aussie CB have directly replaced the Turkish and Northern Irish defenders.
Souttar brings a passing range reminiscent of Evans and arguably Robert Huth: accurate long balls, neat short passes, and defence splitting passes. Faes has even showed such passing intelligence in recent matches, completely bypassing the midfield and taking it straight to the forwards. In doing so, our central defenders can be both the slow possession recyclers and the spring board for attacking plays.
This side will have to keep Rashford quiet, and it will be interesting to see how Rodgers chooses to mark the England international. As United’s top goal scorer by far, he is the man to watch against our defence. In my opinion, you have a rotational formation which involves an effective back three in possession, where one player will mark Rashford directly and another mark the space he could run into. This helps to minimise his impact on the turnover.
Either of the fullbacks must be tasked with sitting back during the attack depending upon which side Rashford is attacking. They should be the man-marker and follow him. I do expect the head coach to impose something along those lines to shut him down, otherwise leaving any of our players one-on-one could be difficult, even if the Danish left-back can pocket the Englishman throughout.