Man Utd recalled why they need Cristiano Ronaldo by recounting Marcus Rashford moment

During the grueling 4-0 defeat at Anfield, Manchester United were reminded why Ronaldo has been such an important player for them this season as the attack has struggled in his absence

Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford applauds fans after the Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester United (Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United was met with mixed reactions over the summer and that skepticism has persisted for much of the season so far. There are many who see the 37-year-old as a hindrance to United’s attack as he cannot influence games like he did in his prime.

It is for this reason that the same critics would have preferred the club to have used the money spent to secure the services of a younger attacking contender in the summer instead.

The reality, however, was that the right candidate, for whatever reason, had not been identified and those supporting Ronaldo would point to his record in terms of goals this season as fair justification for why the Red Devils missed the opportunity used to bring him back to the start of the campaign.

Ronaldo was the hero again on Saturday as he scored a hat-trick to drag his United team-mates through another flat performance to beat Norwich City 3-2 at Old Trafford. He was unavailable for Tuesday’s trip to Anfield after understandably being granted compassionate leave the tragic death of his newborn son.

The hopeless nature of United’s attacking performance against Liverpool without Ronaldo has managed to justify those who continue to defend the Portuguese superstar.

With Ronaldo unavailable, Ralf Rangnick moved away from the 4-2-3-1 he has used for most of his time at United and set the team to a 3-4-2-1 instead, although that often is very much looked more like a chain of five than a chain of three.

United were second best throughout, meaning Marcus Rashford, who was leading the line in Ronaldo’s place, had few attacking opportunities. Yet in those rare moments when United broke out, Rashford United offered little to build on.

He finished the game having attempted just one shot and no dribbling while registering the most miscontrolled passes (four) and being disowned more than any other United player (three).

United beat Liverpool offside trap but Rashford fails to control pass

A big moment for Rashford came in the first half when United finally managed to get past Liverpool’s offside trap and Rashford had an opportunity to play one-on-one with Alisson but he couldn’t control the high pass, letting Liverpool off the hook and wasted a huge moment for United trying to regain their footing in the game.

While we can’t say for certain that Ronaldo would have capitalized on that chance and any other United could muster that night, his clinical prowess in front of goal would have at least tempted him to do so.

It’s obviously far from ideal for a club the size of United to rely on a 37-year-old to lead their attack, but Tuesday night was a reminder of why they’re doing it and a glimpse of the team without him.

He’s United’s main forward at the moment and as such will remain one of the first names on the squad list until the club come up with better options, which many fans are hoping will be this summer.

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