Manchester United won't have skipper Bruno Fernandes among their selection for Sunday's clash against Liverpool.
At a time when manager Erik ten Hag needs every weapon at his disposal, midfield talisman Fernandes will be unavailable for the trip to Anfield. That's after picking up a fifth yellow card of the Premier League season during Saturday's 3-0 annihilation at home to Bournemouth.
The Portuguese maestro was cautioned for dissent towards referee Peter Bankes just minutes from full time. And some spectators were convinced Fernandes sought to get his name in the official's book as a means of getting out of next week's commitments.
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"Big loss for Liverpool," joked one fan convinced United stand a better chance on Merseyside without Fernandes. More than one social media user was adamant his frustrations at the referee were intentional, with one writing: "Done that on purpose!"
“Running from the annihilation," chimed another viewer fully expecting a rout in favour of Jurgen Klopp's side. Fernandes has started in all six league meetings with Liverpool since moving to Manchester in January 2020, but numerous critics jested about his lack of impact in last season's 7-0 drubbing, with one remarking: "He didn’t play the last time they played at Anfield in fairness…”
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Fernandes, 29, has worn United's armband in three of those six league encounters, losing four and winning on just one occasion. He also came off the bench to score a free-kick decider in United's 3-2 triumph over the Merseysiders in the fourth round of the 2020/21 FA Cup.
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While United have won just one of their past four games, Liverpool are on an imperious run of six games unbeaten after coming from behind to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 on Saturday. And Klopp's men have been particularly prolific at Anfield of late, winning their past 11 home matches and going undefeated in front of their own fans since February 2023.
But Ten Hag & Co can't afford to look to Liverpool just yet, with a win needed over Bayern Munich on Tuesday if they're to have any chance of advancing in the Champions League. Fernandes will be available for that must-win matchup, but United's armband will be worn by a stand-in for one of the biggest dates on any United calendar.
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